Putin and Ukraine's new leader discuss east Ukraine conflict

The Kremlin says that Russian President Vladimir Putin has had his first phone call with Ukraine's new president to discuss settling a deadly conflict in eastern Ukraine

Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin and Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy also talked about the release of prisoners. He said they agreed that experts from both countries would work on those issues.

Zelenskiy, a popular comedian who played a high school teacher-turned Ukrainian president in a popular TV series, won 73 percent of the vote in April's runoff against former President Petro Poroshenko.

Earlier this week, Zelenskiy suggested that he and Putin meet in Minsk, Belarus to discuss the conflict in Ukraine's east and Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea. He added that he would like the leaders of the U.S., Britain, France and Germany to join the talks.

The Russian leader also noted that other leaders haven't yet responded to Zelenskiy's proposal and added that British Prime Minister Theresa May is set to step down within weeks.

Zelenskiy, who took office in May, pledged to put an end to fighting between government troops and Russia-backed separatists in the east, which has killed more than 13,000 people since 2014.

In 2015, France and Germany helped broker a peace deal for eastern Ukraine that was signed in the Belarusian capital Minsk. It has helped reduce the scope of fighting, but clashes have continued and political settlement has stalled.

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Nataliya Vasilyeva in Moscow contributed to this report.