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Obama Calls On Russia To Open Talks With Ukraine

June 05, 2014

U.S. President Barack Obama has urged Moscow to engage with Ukrainian President-elect Petro Poroshenko.

Obama spoke after talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron on June 5 in Brussels.

He said Poroshenko's inauguration on June 7 presented an opportunity that Russia needs to seize.

Cameron said the 'continued destabilization of Ukraine must stop.'

At a summit in Brussels, Group of Seven (G7) leaders warned President Vladimir Putin that he 'must stop' Russia's 'destabilizing' actions in Ukraine or face further sanctions.

At the close of the two-day summit earlier on June 5, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said, 'The G7 stands united behind Ukraine, politically and economically.'

'The G7 leaders will convey this message' to Putin on the sidelines of D-Day commemorations in France on June 6, he added.

The G7 meeting was originally supposed to take place in Sochi, Russia, but the summit was moved to Brussels after Russia annexed Crimea in March.

Obama was heading to Paris later on June 5 for talks with French President Francois Hollande, who is also scheduled to meet separately with Putin in the evening.

Putin is also scheduled to meet with Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in France ahead of the D-Day anniversary.

WATCH: Obama urges Russia to engage Ukraine. ​​
The Kremlin has said no one-on-one meeting with Obama is planned, but in an interview with French radio, Putin suggested he is open to meetings with both Obama and Poroshenko.

Putin also said in his interview that he thought Poroshenko is well-positioned to stop what Putin called Kyiv's 'punitive operation' in eastern Ukraine, since Poroshenko 'has no blood on his hands so far.'

Hollande said in Brussels on June 4 that he invited Poroshenko to Normandy after his election victory and then telephoned Putin to inform him that the president-elect of Ukraine would be at the ceremony.

It is Putin's first Western trip since Moscow annexed Crimea.

With reporting by ITAR-TASS and Interfax


Copyright (c) 2014. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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