OUISTREHAM, France (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukraine's newly elected leader have spoken of their desire for a quick end to hostilities in southeastern Ukraine at their meeting Friday at the D-Day commemorations in France, a Russian spokesman said.
"During the brief conversation, both Putin and (President-elect Petro) Poroshenko spoke for the soonest end to bloodshed in southeastern Ukraine and combat actions by both parties: the Ukrainian armed forces and supporters of the federalization of Ukraine," Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a statement carried by Russian news wires.
Peskov said that Putin and Poroshenko also "confirmed that there is no alternative to settling the situation by peaceful political means.
French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel also joined in what French officials said was a 15-minute encounter.
Peskov also said that Putin talked separately with President Barack Obama and they "exchanged opinions about the situation in Ukraine and the crisis in the country's east."
"Putin and Obama spoke for the need to end violence and fighting as quickly as possible," Peskov said.
In recent weeks, Ukrainian officials say more than 200 people have died — a figure which can't be independently confirmed — in fighting between Ukrainian government troops and pro-Russian rebels.
Candy magnate Poroshenko, who is to be sworn in as Ukraine's next president on Saturday, has promised a comprehensive plan to put an end to the hostilities in the east as soon as he assumes office.
Putin held his first face-to-face meetings with Western leaders in France this week since pro-European protesters pushed out Ukraine's Russia-friendly president in February, Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula, and the U.S. and EU imposed sanctions in response.