German Chancellor Angela Merkel (3rd R) speaks with Russia's President Vladimir Putin (2nd R) as Ukraine's president-elect Petro Poroshenko (L) walks on the beach of Ouistreham, Normandy, on June 6, 2014. AFP PHOTO / GUILLAUME SOUVANT
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The leaders of Russia and Ukraine held their first talks on Friday since Moscow annexed Crimea, airing ways to end their four-month conflict in a brief encounter during commemorations in France of the World War Two D-Day landings.French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel brought together Russia's Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian president-elect Petro Poroshenko for a 15-minute meeting before they joined other dignitaries for lunch. Putin went on to have an equally short meeting with Barack Obama in which, according to a White House official, the U.S. President urged him to recognise Poroshenko as Ukraine's leader and to cut off arms supplies to pro-Russian separatists. Hollande's office said Putin and Poroshenko shook hands and agreed that detailed talks on a ceasefire between Kiev government forces and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine would begin within a few days.Poroshenko, brought to power by pro-Western protests which Putin has termed a coup, was photographed looking unsmiling and earnest as he stood with the Russian leader and Merkel. A White House official said Putin and Obama, who had avoided contact with the Russian leader while the two were in Paris on Thursday -- also spoke to each other before the lunch.
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