Pompeo: Trump, Putin discussed Ukraine at private meeting, but 'didn't find much place to agree'

Pompeo: Trump, Putin discussed Ukraine at private meeting, but 'didn't find much place to agree'

President TrumpDonald John TrumpAmash responds to 'Send her back' chants at Trump rally: 'This is how history's worst episodes begin' McConnell: Trump 'on to something' with attacks on Dem congresswomen Trump blasts 'corrupt' Puerto Rico's leaders amid political crisis MORE and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed Ukraine during their closely watched summit in Helsinki last week, but found little room for agreement, Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoIn Afghanistan, give peace a chance — and a lot of time The Hill's Morning Report - Trump seizes House impeachment vote to rally GOP Mystery surrounds elusive sanctions on Russia MORE said.

In an interview with the Australian Broadcast Corporation on Tuesday, Pompeo said the two leaders talked about the ongoing civil war in Syria and the need to abate the refugee crisis in the region.

But on Ukraine, the top diplomat said, "they didn't find much place to agree."

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"They spoke about Ukraine. They didn’t find much place to agree there," Pompeo said. "The president was strong in making sure that the world understood that the Minsk path is the right path forward."

The Minsk II agreement outlines the European-backed process to end the years-long fighting between Ukrainian forces and separatist groups in eastern Ukraine.

The European Union and the U.S. have repeatedly accused Moscow of sending troops to the region and supplying weapons to separatists — allegations that the Russian government denies.

The fighting in eastern Ukraine began in 2014 after Russia's annexation of Crimea — a move that drew international condemnation and led to Russia being suspended from the Group of Eight. 

But Trump floated the notion of allowing Russia back into the group during a summit in Canada in June, reportedly saying at the time that Crimea was Russian because its population speaks Russian. 

That raised speculation as to whether Trump would use his summit with Putin last week to recognize Russia's claim to the peninsula, though he ultimately did not.

Much of Trump and Putin's summit remains shrouded in secrecy. The roughly two-hour meeting took place behind closed doors without the presence of aides or advisers, and the White House has not yet issued a readout of the discussion.