After months of tensions between Ukraine and Russia, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko will meet face-to-face. The two have been in regular contact, and run into each other at international functions, however, this will be a longer, sit-down meeting with European Union officials present.
Putin has stressed repeatedly that Russia is open to ending the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, however, the Kremlin has been linked to pro-Russian separatists in the area. "We will do everything within our power to end this military conflict as soon as possible, establish a dialogue between all parties concerned, and provide humanitarian aid to those who need it," said Putin in a statement. Recently, the separatists have been losing power in the Donbass region and the Ukrainian military has gained the advantage.
The two leaders will meet on neutral territory in Minsk, Belarus, on August 26. They have not physically met since June 6, at a ceremony on the anniversary of the Normandy invasion.
The announcement of this meeting comes after several bodies were discovered in Eastern Ukraine yesterday. They were of victims from an attack on a refugee convoy. Ukrainian Colonel Andriy Lysenko said the investigation and search had to be stopped as the area around the attack site became an active fighting zone.
Ahead of the meeting between Putin and Poroshenko, German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet with the Ukrainian president. Merkel will be headed to Kiev this Saturday to discuss "concrete possibilities to support Ukraine in the current crisis."