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Putin and Poroshenko Still Talk Regularly, But Kiev Would Rather Ukrainians Didn't Know

Vladimir Putin, second left, and Petro Poroshenko, right, shake hands in Minsk, Belarus, Feb. 11, 2015. Kremlin Press Service

Sources in Moscow and Kiev tell the Russian newspaper Kommersant that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko continue to speak on the phone, though both leaders regularly trade harsh accusations in public.

According to Kommersant, the  latest conversation between Putin and Poroshenko took place in early April. The two leaders reportedly spent 20 minutes discussing the conflict in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists have taken control of areas in Donetsk and Luhansk. Kommersant’s sources say the most recent call took place at Poroshenko’s request.

The two presidents reportedly speak to one another “respectfully and cordially,” sometimes even joking “ironically,” Kommersant says, adding that these phone calls have yet to produce any formal agreements, though Putin and Poroshenko have managed to coordinate some “humanitarian decisions” on prisoner exchange, food supply, pension payments, and water and power in the Donbas, the newspaper says.

Kommersant’s sources say neither Kiev nor Moscow has shared details about these communications, in order to protect Poroshenko from criticisms of “unpatriotic behavior” and talking to “the leader of the aggressor country.”

Kiev has acknowledged past conversations between Poroshenko and Putin, saying the Ukrainian government hasn’t disclosed information about these phone calls, because they produced no diplomatic concrete results.

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