Vladimir Putin and Ukraine’s president-elect Petro Poroshenko have briefly spoken on the sidelines of the D-Day anniversary celebrations in Normandy. They called for both sides to “stop violence and military actions” in eastern Ukraine.Both leaders “have spoken for a prompt end to bloodshed in southeast Ukraine as well as for an end to military actions from both sides – from the side of the Ukrainian armed forces and the supporters of federalization of Ukraine,” said Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov.Putin and Poroshenko also agreed that there is “no alternative” to “peaceful political means” to resolve the conflict in Ukraine.Apart from his conversation with Poroshenko, Russia’s president also held meetings with French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The Afghan president refused to visit the Bagram military base when US President Barack Obama made a surprise visit there to meet troops on May 25. Similarly, the American president turned down a proposal for talks at Karzai’s palace in downtown Kabul.Air Force One flew all night to bring Obama from Washington, DC, to the airstrip of Kabul’s international airport in Bagram.Officially, the American president had come to the US largest military base in Afghanistan to address troops ahead of the end of Afghan campaign.“I’m here on a single mission, and that is to thank you for your extraordinary service,” Obama said in a speech before some 32,800 American service personnel, practically all of the US contingent in Afghanistan, making their probably last tour of duty to the country.
Moscow and Beijing have rejected the imposition of sanctions as political tools and condemned attempts at “encouraging and financing” regime changes in other countries in a joint statement released during President Putin’s official visit to China.Having faced economic sanctions and threats of more of to come from the West, Russia has turned to the East, seeking to boost business ties in a friendlier environment. An impressive package of deals on energy, business and infrastructure has already been signed in Shanghai. More is yet to come, judging by the title of the joint statement by Beijing and Moscow, which promises “a new stage in full-scale partnership and strategic relations.” Boosting mutual trade is not all there is to that “new stage,” as following the meeting with Xi, the Russian president shared expectations of closer cooperation between the countries in international politics.