Updated on 05:58 p.m. Moscow Time
ULAN BATOR (Mongolia), September 3 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday said his views with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on settling the conflict in Ukraine were “very similar.”
“Yes, this morning President Poroshenko and I spoke over the phone and our views, as far as I understand, on settling the conflict are very similar,” Putin said.
The Russian leader expressed hope that the Ukrainian leadership will support the progress currently emerging from bilateral relations.
“I very much expect the Ukrainian leadership to support the emerging progress in bilateral relations and to use this positive experience within the framework of the Contact Group for final and allencompassing settlement in southeastern Ukraine,” Putin said.
The president noted that the work of the contact group for a final settlement of the situation in the southeastern Ukraine should be carried out only with full and unconditional assurance of the legitimate rights of the people who live there.
Earlier on Wednesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Putin and Poroshenko discussed the first steps to bringing an end to the bloodshed in eastern Ukraine over the telephone and that the presidents’ views to exiting the crisis were extremely similar.
On September 1, the Contact Group on Ukrainian reconciliation, comprising Russia, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Ukrainian government and eastern Ukraine’s independence supporters met in the Belarusian capital Minsk.
Representatives from the Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics said during the meeting that if the selfproclaimed republics received certain legislative guarantees of their special status, they would make every effort to “save the single economic, cultural and political space of Ukraine and the whole space of the RussianUkrainian civilization."
The next Contact Group meeting is scheduled for September 5.
Since midApril, Kiev has been conducting a military operation against the southeastern regions of Ukraine that refused to recognize the legitimacy of the new government after a February coup. The fighting intensified after Donetsk and Luhansk regions proclaimed independence in May.
Almost 2,600 people, including the victims of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash, have been killed and more than 6,000 injured since the start of Kiev’s military operation in eastern Ukraine, according to the UN.
Moscow continues to insist on an immediate end to the “punitive operation” in eastern Ukraine.