No sign of quick end to Ukraine conflict

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives to speak to the media after his talks with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Minsk, Belarus. Following their meetings late Tuesday, which included a one-on-one session that stretched into the night, there was no indication of a quick end to the fighting that has engulfed eastern Ukraine.

“This is not our business,” Putin said of any cease-fire plan. “This is Ukraine’s business.”

Russia “can only help to create an atmosphere of trust for this important and necessary process,” Putin said. “We in Russia cannot talk about any conditions for the cease-fire, about any agreements between Kiev, Donetsk, Luhansk,” the two rebel regions.

Although Poroshenko told reporters that he had secured support for a peace plan from leaders who attended the summit and Putin called the sessions “overall positive,” the first substantial encounter between the two leaders did not produce a breakthrough.

If anything, there were signs of spreading violence. For the past two days, heavy shelling hit an area of southeast Ukraine that had escaped the intense fighting of recent weeks, and Ukrainian officials said the pro-Russia separatists it has been battling were aiming to open a new front.

— The Associated Press