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Putin and Poroshenko meet for bilateral talks

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, second left, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, second right, and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, right, walk to their talks after posing for a photo in Minsk, Belarus, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

MINSK, Belarus: The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are meeting for their first bilateral talks at a much-anticipated summit in Minsk, which many voiced hopes may help bring an end to fighting between Kiev's forces and pro-Russian separatists in east Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin and Petro Poroshenko met late on Tuesday in the Belarussian capital, the first such meeting between the countries' heads of state since Ukraine's pro-Russian ex-president was ousted from power in February.

Fighting in east Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists are battling government forces, has claimed at least 2,000 civilian lives since it began in April, according to a United Nations estimate.

 

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