August 19, 2019 / 3:55 PM / a month ago

Putin tells Macron he sees no alternative to Ukraine talks

French President Emmanuel Macron meets with Russia's President Vladimir Putin, at his summer retreat of the Bregancon fortress on the Mediterranean coast, near the village of Bormes-les-Mimosas, southern France, on August 19, 2019. Gerard Julien/Pool via REUTERS

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin told his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron that he saw no alternative to Normandy format heads of state talks on the Ukraine crisis, but stopped short on Monday of signing up to a new summit on the subject.

Putin was speaking at Macron’s summer residence in southern France ahead of talks on a range of subjects between the two leaders.

Putin told Macron that phone conversations with Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskiy had given him cautious grounds for optimism, but stressed that he believed that any meeting aimed at resolving the Ukraine crisis should yield tangible results.

Kiev’s forces have been battling pro-Russian separatists in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine since 2014, in a conflict that has claimed more than 13,000 lives. Sporadic fighting continues despite a ceasefire agreement.

Reporting by Polina Devitt; Editing by Andrew Osborn

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