On A Day Of Looking Back, Talks Move Forward On Ukraine

President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin met during a ceremony to commemorate the anniversary of D-Day. On the same day, Putin met with new Ukrainian President-elect Petro Poroshenko.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. At a luncheon in Benouville, France today, President Obama and Russian's Vladimir Putin were at the same table. But they sat far apart. It was a gathering of world leaders to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day. Reporters watched as Putin and Obama seems to avoid one another, wondering if the two men would talk.

SIEGEL: They did end up having a private conversation. It lasted about 15 minutes. Though informal, it was their first face to face meeting, since the crisis in Ukraine began. The White House says, Obama told the Russian leader to stop supporting separatists in eastern Ukraine and to cease sending arms and material over the border. And Obama also told Putin that the election of a new president in Ukraine is an opportunity to ease tensions.

CORNISH: Putin met with the president-elect, Petro Poroshenko, at the luncheon, too. He'll be inaugurated tomorrow. He and Putin reportedly discussed a possible cease-fire in eastern Ukraine. Yesterday, President Obama warned Putin in a news conference that Russia would face more sanctions, if steps aren't taken to help stabilize Ukraine.

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