The official Russian RIA-Novosti news agency quoted Andrei Purgin, one of the separatist leaders who participated in the talks, as saying "we gave them our view of the situation and they gave us theirs. "We handed each other documents and we will study them," Mr Purgin was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency. "The consultations can continue on September 5.
The rebel side announced it would seek "special status" for the regions it controls, with locally elected authorities, guarantees on the role of the Russian language and the right of the militants to stay on as law-enforcement bodies, as well as amnesty for all separatists and a withdrawal of Kiev's forces.
In separate comments, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called for a ceasefire and said Ukrainian forces must "withdraw from the positions from which they can do harm to the civilian population" — a demand that would likely require a total pullout from the region.
Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday stressed the need to prepare more sanctions because the risk stemming from the country's "unacceptable" behavior in Ukraine outweighs economic risks for German companies. "I have pointed to what these [sanctions] could mean for German companies.
As the talks opened, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko accused Russia of undertaking "undisguised aggression" that has "fundamentally changed the situation in the zone of military action.
The rebel strongholds of Luhansk and Donetsk, which Kiev had said early last month were nearly cut off by its troops, have seen supply lines to Russia reopened in recent days after offensives by rebels and Russian troops, officials in Kiev said.
Mr Putin on Monday seemed to brush off the threat of sanctions. "I hope the common sense prevails and we will work in a normal, modern way and neither we nor our partners will suffer losses from these mutual pokes," he told a government meeting in Yakutsk, according to Interfax.
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