Russian President Vladimir Putin (c) shakes hands with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (r) while European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton looks on. The leaders gathered in Minsk, Belarus on August 26, 2014 for direct negotiations regarding the conflict in eastern Ukraine. (Twitter/European Union)
MINSK, Belarus, Aug. 27 (UPI) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko met Tuesday in Minsk for two hours of direct negotiation following multiparty talks that included representatives from the European Union, Belarus and Kazakhstan.
According to Ukraine's Foreign Affairs Minister Pavlo Klimkin, the discussion centered on four key issues, which he summed up in a Twitter post.
"Keywords on August 26 are as follows: peace, hostages, border, gas. There is communication across all lines and it is important."
Klimkin acknowledged that the negotiations were difficult for the Ukrainian delegation.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton described Tuesday's session as a "positive discussion," emphasizing the pressing need for a cease-fire to end the deadly violence between Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian forces, and securing the Russian-Ukrainian border to prevent re-supplying of the separatists.
"We agreed that we will hold consultations through trilateral contact group to speed up the transition to the bilateral ceasefire regime control of which will be carried out by the representatives of the OSCE monitoring mission," Poroshenko said in a statement following Tuesday's meeting.
But Putin seemed to be on a different page, telling reporters on Wednesday, "We didn't substantively discuss that, and we, Russia, can't substantively discuss the conditions of a ceasefire, or agreements between Kiev, Donetsk and Luhansk. That's not our business, it's up to Ukraine itself."
When the summit was announced last week, it was billed by Kiev as "a chance to switch to a real road map towards a peaceful process."
It was unclear whether peace negotiations will continue at the presidential level.