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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Putin Goes to Kiev For CIS Summit

KIEV -- President Vladimir Putin arrived in Kiev on Monday for bilateral talks and a summit of leaders of former Soviet republics.

Putin later Monday attended a ceremony kicking off a yearlong festival of Russian culture in Ukraine -- an event intended to strengthen ties between the two countries.

About 100 Ukrainian nationalist demonstrators gathered outside the theater where the ceremony was held, holding placards denouncing Kuchma and "creeping Moscow imperialism."

Putin and Kuchma are to hold bilateral talks Tuesday in the run-up to Wednesday's summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

However, four of the CIS countries won't be represented by their presidents. Uzbekistan's Islam Karimov said the summit conflicted with a trip to Spain, and the presidents of Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan declined to attend without stating reasons.

Putin on Tuesday also is to meet with other CIS leaders, including Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze.