Ukraine Talks: Russia Slams "Absolutely Biased" Approach by Europe

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MILAN — Talks between Russia, Ukraine and European governments on Friday were "full of misunderstandings and disagreements," the Kremlin said, undercutting more upbeat messages from leaders hoping for a breakthrough in the Ukraine crisis. Various leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, emerged from the meeting telling reporters some progress had been made. But Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov later poured cold water on hopes of any breakthrough, saying "certain participants" had taken an "absolutely biased, non-flexible, non-diplomatic" approach to Ukraine.

"The talks are indeed difficult, full of misunderstandings, disagreements, but they are nevertheless ongoing, the exchange of opinion is in progress," he said. A similar message emerged overnight after Putin met German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Their formerly cordial relationship has come under heavy strain from Moscow's support for pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine. The meeting was reported by both sides to have made little progress, with the Kremlin saying "serious differences" remained in their analysis of a crisis. Putin, Poroshenko, Merkel and French President Francois Hollande were due meet later Friday, their aides said.

Image: Leaders stand during a meeting on the sidelines of a Europe-Asia summit in Milan
Russia's President Vladimir Putin stands with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko during a meeting at a summit in Milan on Friday.Daniel Dal Zennaro / Reuters

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