Seventy years ago today Allied forces landed on Normandy for D-Day. June 6, 2014, is also significant because it is the first time Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Ukraine President-elect Petro Poroshenko.
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 an official lunch for visiting world dignitaries.
Hollande’s office said the two men 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.
They also discussed political steps to de-escalate the crisis including Russian recognition of Poroshenko’s election as well as economic relations.
Hollande decided to invite Poroshenko, who will be inaugurated on Saturday, as a guest so the two men could meet and start to mend the fences between the two nations as intense fighting continues in east Ukraine. D-Day is also the first time Western leaders met with Putin face-to-face since the crisis started in February. Merkel met with Putin for one hour on Friday.
“In this discussion, the chancellor expressed that now, after the recognized presidential elections in Ukraine, the time must be used to bring about stabilization, especially in eastern Ukraine,” said a spokeswoman. “And in this discussion she used the opportunity to remind Russia of its great responsibility in this.”