The presidents of Russia and Ukraine sat down for talks Tuesday, meeting face-to-face for the first time since June on the fighting that has engulfed Ukraine's separatist east. Russia's Vladimir Putin and Ukraine's Petro Poroshenko were joined by the presidents of Belarus and Kazakhstan and three senior officials from the European Union in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. The meeting came as Ukraine said its forces had captured 10 Russian soldiers in eastern Ukraine and the shelling spread to a new front in the far southeast. Ukraine has repeatedly accused Russia of supporting and arming the rebels, which Russia denies daily.
"The fate of peace and the fate of Europe are being decided in Minsk today," Poroshenko said as the talks began. Poroshenko also said the purpose of his visit was to start the process of searching for a political compromise and promised that the interests of Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine would be taken into account. Putin devoted most of his opening remarks to trade.