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WAR

Putin ‘may join future Ukraine talks’: Germany

Germany said on Wednesday it could not rule out Russian President Vladimir Putin would take part in a future round of talks over conflict-torn eastern Ukraine after speculation that Western leaders were snubbing him.

Putin 'may join future Ukraine talks': Germany
The Russian President is currently attending to pressing engagements at the bottom of the sea. Photo: DPA

Chancellor Angela Merkel is hosting talks with France's President Francois Hollande and Ukrainian leader Petro Poroshenko on Monday, and analysts said the conspicuous absence of Putin underlined that relations were deteriorating as new violence flares in eastern Ukraine.

The four leaders last met in Minsk in February when a truce deal was signed, but they have also regularly held telephone conversations over the conflict.

Merkel's spokeswoman Christiane Wirtz said on Wednesday that although Putin would not join the huddle in Berlin, it was possible that the Russian strongman could attend future talks.

“I cannot rule out that such a meeting would be held but I cannot confirm it,” Wirtz told reporters.

Violence in eastern Ukraine this week has sparked a new diplomatic flareup between Moscow – accused by the West of aiding and abetting Ukraine's pro-Russia rebels – and Western powers which want to prop up Kiev's new pro-European leaders against what they view as Russian aggression.

Both Kiev and rebels controlling parts of Ukraine's industrial east reported the deaths of at least 10 soldiers and civilians on Monday in the worst bloodshed in over a month.

SEE ALSO: Ukraine again 'explosive', Germany warns

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UKRAINE

Macron, Scholz and Draghi meet Ukrainian president in Kyiv

French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi have met the Ukrainian president in Kyiv, after the trio travelled overnight by train from Poland.

Macron, Scholz and Draghi meet Ukrainian president in Kyiv

The three leaders left in the early hours of Thursday, arriving into Kyiv on Thursday morning. After a visit to the heavily-bombed town of Irpin, they met Ukraine’s leader Volodymyr Zelensky.

It is the first time that the leaders of the three European Union countries have visited Kyiv since Russia’s February 24th invasion of Ukraine, and the visit comes as Kyiv is pushing for membership of the EU.

Macron has been paying a two-day visit to Romania and Moldova to discuss the ongoing crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

There had been widespread speculation in France that he would combine the trip with a visit to Zelensky in Ukraine, but this was not confirmed until Thursday morning.

In a joint press conference with Romanian president Klaus Iohannis, Macron reiterated his desire that Ukraine should win the war, but added that eventually negotiations between Ukraine and Russia will be necessary.

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