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Putin, Poroshenko to meet EU officials in Belarus

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko will meet with top EU officials in Belarus next week.

MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko will meet with top EU officials in Belarus next week.

Poroshenko's office said leaders would use the August 26 meeting to discuss ways to stabilise the situation in eastern Ukraine, energy security and Kiev's new trade deal with the European Union, which Russia has opposed.

A Kremlin statement said a number of bilateral meetings would be held, but did not specify if Putin would hold a one-on-one with Poroshenko.

Putin and Poroshenko briefly huddled with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the sidelines of D-Day anniversary ceremonies in Normandy in June and have spoken repeatedly on the phone since.

The meeting will also include the presidents of Belarus and Kazakhstan, which are part of the Russian-led Customs Union of which Ukraine has been part.

Russia has been concerned about the impact of Ukraine's trade deal with the European Union on the Customs Union, and has warned that it could ban all Ukrainian goods.

Russia has already banned many Ukrainian products, ostensibly for health reasons, while EU food products have been banned in response to sanctions Brussels imposed on Moscow over Ukraine.

The EU said its foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht, and Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger would attend the meeting.

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