(Changes day of Putin-Hollande meeting to June 5, sted 6)
MOSCOW May 30 Russian President Vladimir Putin,
in a telephone call with his French counterpart Francois
Hollande on Friday, urged a halt to bloodshed in Ukraine and the
start of talks between Kiev and eastern separatists.
The telephone call, which the Kremlin said was initiated by
the French side, took place before a planned meeting between the
two leaders on June 5 in Paris that will be Putin's first with a
Western leader since the annexation of Crimea.
Russia is at loggerheads with Western leaders and Kiev over
Crimea and allegations that it is fomenting the rebellions among
the largely Russian-speaking population in eastern Ukraine
following protests that overthrew Moscow-backed President Viktor
Yanukovich in February.
"Putin noted the need for the authorities in Kiev to
immediately halt the violence and bloodshed and for the start of
direct dialogue between Kiev and representatives of the
country's southeastern regions," the Kremlin said in a
It confirmed Putin would attend the 70th anniversary of the
World War Two D-Day landings in Normandy, France, where he will
be mixing with foreign leaders including Ukraine's
president-elect Petro Poroshenko, U.S. President Barack Obama
and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Although Putin has frequently spoken to foreign heads of
state and government by telephone since the start of the Ukraine
crisis, his last known meeting with a Western leader was during
the February Winter Olympics in Sochi.
(Reporting by Alissa de Carbonnel; Editing by Angus MacSwan)