G7 summit: World leaders call on Vladimir Putin to engage with Ukraine's new government and stem separatist violence

New president Petro Poroshenko's willingness to reach out to disaffected elements within his country brings hope of a turning point in the crisis

Brussels

David Cameron and other world leaders have headed to France to warn the Russian President that he must seize the opportunity of elections in Ukraine and stem separatist violence gripping the country, offering him a choice of a cautious rapprochement or deeper sanctions.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin was due to meet with Mr Cameron and his French and German counterparts, who came straight from a G7 meeting in Brussels carrying a message that Moscow had a month to reverse its course in Ukraine and engage with its new leader.

They made clear that the election last month of Petro Poroshenko, a billionaire confectionery magnate, could prove a turning point in the future of Ukraine given his willingness to reach out to both Russian speakers in the restive east and to leaders in Moscow.

Ukraine has been gripped by turmoil since pro-EU protesters ousted Kremlin ally Viktor Yanukovych in February, prompting Moscow's annexation of Crimea and pro-Russian insurgencies in key cities in the east - unrest that US and EU leaders say the Kremlin is orchestrating.

“There is an opportunity for diplomacy to play a role and to chart a path because we've had these elections,” Mr Cameron said, adding that first Mr Putin must meet certain conditions laid down by the G7 leaders in a meeting which pointedly excluded Russia.

“President Putin must recognise the legitimate election of President Poroshenko. He must stop arms crossing the border into Ukraine. He must cease Russian support for separatist groups,” he said. “If these things don't happen, then sectoral sanctions will follow.

“The next month will be vital in judging if President Putin has taken these steps, and that is what I will urge President Putin to do.”

The US President, Barack Obama, was also travelling to Paris, and will join 17 other world leaders on the beaches of Normandy for commemorations marking the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings. Unlike the Europeans, Mr Obama has decided not to hold official talks with Mr Putin, but said that should they bump into one another he will deliver a similar message.

“We are at a point where Mr Putin has a chance to get back into a lane of international law,” Mr Obama said, reiterating the demands of the G7 leaders. “If Mr Putin takes those steps then it is possible for us to begin to rebuild trust between Russia and its neighbours and Europe. Should he fail to do so there are going to be additional consequences.”

Whether Mr Putin will be receptive to these overtures is unclear. In an interview with French media ahead of travelling to Paris, he sent mixed signals to his critics. The Russian President repeated accusations that it was the EU and US who caused the crisis in Ukraine by backing the protesters who toppled ex-president Yanukovych. But he also hinted that talks with Mr Obama and Mr Poroshenko - a late addition to the guest list - could be on the cards.

“You know, I don't plan to evade anyone,” he told French television. “There will be other guests, and I'm not going to avoid any of them. I will talk with all of them.”

EU leaders said they will take stock of Russia's actions at a meeting at the end of June. After the annexation of Crimea, the US and EU imposed assets freezes and travel bans on dozens of Russian and Ukrainian officials. But there has been disagreement among the 28 EU governments over progressing to deeper sanctions hitting sectors of the Russian economy such as energy, arms and financial services, as they would have varying impacts on their domestic economics.

Washington has at times appeared frustrated by this disunity, and Mr Obama said that if they did have to move to sectoral sanctions, “it's important to take individual countries' sensitivities in mind and make sure that everybody is ponying up.”

He also said he had “concerns” about France's decision to go ahead with the sale of two Mistral helicopter carriers to Russia, a contract worth over €1.2bn.

“I have expressed some concerns... about continuing significant defence deals with Russia at a time when they have violated basic international law and the territorial and sovereignty of their neighbours,” he said. “I think it would have been preferable to press the pause button. President Hollande so far has made a different position.”

The issue may come up at a dinner French President Francois Hollande was due to host for Mr Obama in Paris. That dinner will take place at a restaurant overlooking the Champs-Elysees, before the French leader rushes back to his residence for a late-night snack with Mr Putin. Mr Hollande is trying to play the role of ice-breaker, and wants to orchestrate a symbolic meeting between the Russian President and Mr Poroshenko, who will be inaugurated on Saturday.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# Developer (Genetic Algorithms, .NET 4.5, TDD, SQL, AI)

£40000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Full Stack Developer (.NET 4.0, ASP.NET, MVC, Ajax, WCF,SQL)

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Full Stack ...

AIFMD Business Analyst / Consultant - Investment Management

£450 - £600 per day: Harrington Starr: AIFMD Business Analyst / Consultant - I...

Business Analyst Solvency II SME (Pillar 1, 2 & 3) Insurance

£450 - £600 per day: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Solvency II SME (Pilla...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve