Vladimir Putin, Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel and Volodymyr Zelenskiy attend a Normandy-format summit in Paris. Reuters
Russian leader Vladimir Putin on Monday met Ukranian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky for the first time, at a Paris summit aimed at agreeing measures to help end five years of conflict in the east of Ukraine.
No comprehensive peace deal is expected from the meeting — mediated by French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel — but diplomats hope the summit will help to build trust between the two men.
Four-way talks at the Elysee Palace were followed by the first ever bilateral meeting between wily ex-KGB agent Putin — in power for two decades — and ex-comedian Zelensky who won the presidency this year, Ukrainian and Russian presidential sources said.
The four leaders were due to meet again over dinner, before a joint news conference.
"The leaders have been discussing the draft statement and each clause is being discussed in a lively way," said Zelensky's deputy chief of staff Kyrylo Tymoshenko. "There is a working atmosphere and there is no problem," he added.
Thousands have been killed and one million have fled their homes since pro-Russia militias in eastern Ukraine launched a bid for independence in 2014 -- kicking off a conflict that deepened Russia's estrangement from the West.
Separatists seized control of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions shortly after Russia's annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea.
The issue of Crimea, whose seizure gave Putin a popularity boost at home but led to international sanctions being imposed against Moscow, is not on the table at this summit.
Ukraine's new president could regain control over the separatist-controlled east of his country within months and get cheap gas and major investment from Russia if he does a deal with Moscow, the Kremlin's closest ally in Ukraine said.
As Europe gets ready for its biggest nation in the west of Europe to say goodbye under a nationalist leadership, and a parliament unable to control the executive at the other end of Europe, the parliament of Ukraine has just been elected with serious hopes for the first time since the Berlin Wall fell that
The 28 EU leaders are trying to agree on who will steer the bloc over the coming years through the looming challenges of Brexit and the rise of populist parties in Europe.
An oft-repeated advice. Yet, due to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the subsequent remote work and school environs, two ophthalmologists and an orthopaedician surgeon have reiterated the need for everyone to relax and take a breather from screens and the television set everyday.
2,437 people had been caught in violation of the precautionary measures in force to limit the spread of the virus, and 2,486 notices were issued against them in 15 days.
During the telephone call, Sheikh Mohamed and Macron discussed ways to enhance bilateral relations and cooperation between the two countries in the best interest of the two sides.