Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko has met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and EU leaders in Milan.
An upbeat Putin said the talks at the Europe-Asia (ASEM) summit had been “positive” but there had been no sign of de-escalating the Ukraine crisis.
Delegates were also looking to resolve a dispute over natural gas supplies from Russia.
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who hosted the meeting, said progress had been made but differences remain.
“I think we made a step ahead for the climate, for the constructive discussion. Obviously there a lot of differences,” said Renzi.
“But I would underline the real desire to find solutions and for these reasons I think we can be positive,” Renzi added.
The EU fears Russia’s decision to cut gas supplies to Ukraine because of unpaid bills could disrupt energy supplies to Europe this winter and is working to broker a deal.
Russia is Europe’s biggest gas supplier, meeting around a third of demand. The EU gets about half of the Russian gas it uses via Ukraine.
Putin will hold more talks on Friday with Poroshenko, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, Russia’s RIA news agency reported.
RIA cited the Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, saying the four had agreed to meet after the Milan summit.
“It was agreed that a few hours after the ASEM summit ends, discussion on Ukraine will continue [between the four],” the agency quoted Peskov as saying.