Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko says that he and Vladimir Putin have agreed on the telephone to a “ceasefire process” for eastern Ukraine.
“Our views on the way to resolve the conflict, as it seemed to me, are very close,” Putin told reporters in the Mongolia capital of Ulan Bator, confirming he had spoken to Poroshenko earlier on Wednesday.
An earlier statement spoke of a “permanent ceasefire” being concluded, triggering a denial from a Putin spokesman who said that although the pair had agreed on steps towards peace, Russia could not make a truce deal because it was not a party to the conflict.
That is disputed by Kyiv and Western governments who say that Russian troops are fighting alongside pro-Moscow separatists.
Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk on Wednesday branded Russia a “terrorist state”.
There has been no immediate sign of a halt in fighting.
A senior rebel leader in eastern Ukraine said separatists are sticking to their demand for Ukrainian troops to withdraw from what he called “our territory” as a main condition for peace.
The conflict has killed more than 2,600 people since April and provoked the worst crisis in relations between Russia and the West since the Cold War.