October 18, 2016 / 10:56 AM / a year ago

Ukraine's Poroshenko not optimistic about meeting with Putin

OSLO (Reuters) - Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko said he was not optimistic about a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Berlin on Wednesday addressing the conflict in Eastern Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko attends a ceremony to hand over weapons and military vehicles to servicemen of the Ukrainian armed forces in Chuhuiv outside Kharkiv, Ukraine, October 15, 2016. Mikhail Palinchak/Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Pool via REUTERS

“For the tomorrow meeting, let’s not have very high expectations,” Poroshenko told reporters in Oslo. “Yes, I am very optimistic about the future of Ukraine but unfortunately not so much about tomorrow’s meeting, but I would be very happy to be surprised”.

Poroshenko has agreed to a so-called “Normandy Format” meeting in Berlin on Oct 19, bringing together Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine for talks on the separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine, he said in a separate statement earlier on Tuesday.

Fighting between Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed rebels has killed more than 9,600 since 2014, despite a ceasefire agreed in the Belarussian capital Minsk.

Reporting by Stine Jacobsen; Editing by Dominic Evans

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