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Obama, Putin Talk at D-Day Event as Ukraine Cease-Fire Sought

Group Photo for D-Day Ceremonies in Benouville, France
Russian President Vladimir Putin, top center, passes behind U.S. President Barack Obama, front center, Britain's Queen Elizabeth front right, Norway's King Harald, front left, and King Philippe of Belgium, top left, as he arrives for a group photo for the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings at Benouville Castle in France on June 6, 2014. Photographer: Regis Duvignau/AFP via Getty Images

President Barack Obama met briefly with Russian President Vladimir Putin as the two attended ceremonies marking the 70th anniversary of the allied D-Day invasion of Europe.

Obama and Putin had an “informal conversation” lasting 10 to 15 minutes at a lunch for leaders in Normandy, France, Ben Rhodes, deputy White House national security adviser, said.

It was the first face-to-face meeting between the two leaders since the crisis in Ukraine erupted and follows months of escalating tension over Russia’s annexation of Crimea and support for separatists who continue to attack Ukrainian forces in the country’s east.

A possible cease-fire in fighting between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian rebels will be discussed “in the coming days,” according to officials in French President Francois Hollande’s government.

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