Ukraine leader says expects tough talks with Putin next week

October 11, 2014 7:52 PM

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KIEV (Reuters) – Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on Saturday he expected planned talks with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin next week in Italy to be difficult but said Moscow had a crucial role to play in bringing peace to his country.

Kiev and its Western backers accuse Moscow of backing a pro-Russian separatist revolt in eastern Ukraine by providing troops and arms. Russia denies the charges but says it has a right to defend the interests of the region’s Russian-speaking majority.

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