Europe

EU leaders come to Russia in a sign sanctions could be eased

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and former French President Nicolas Sarkozy speak to each other during their meeting on the eve of the St. Petersburg International Investment Forum, in Russia, Wednesday, June 15, 2016. (Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and former French President Nicolas Sarkozy speak to each other during their meeting on the eve of the St. Petersburg International Investment Forum, in Russia, Wednesday, June 15, 2016. (Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin listens during a meeting with Ben van Beurden,  CEO of Royal Dutch Shell at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in St.Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, June 16, 2016.(Sergei Chirikov/Pool photo via AP)

    Russian President Vladimir Putin listens during a meeting with Ben van Beurden, CEO of Royal Dutch Shell at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in St.Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, June 16, 2016.(Sergei Chirikov/Pool photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin, second left, meets with Ben van Beurden, second right, CEO of Royal Dutch Shell at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in St.Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, June 16, 2016. Alexei Miller, Gazprom CEO sits at left. (Sergei Chirikov/Pool photo via AP)

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, second left, meets with Ben van Beurden, second right, CEO of Royal Dutch Shell at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in St.Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, June 16, 2016. Alexei Miller, Gazprom CEO sits at left. (Sergei Chirikov/Pool photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

After a two-year break which felt like a boycott European leaders and chief executives of top multinational companies are coming to Russia to speak at the country's top economic gathering.

Russia's annexation of Crimea in March 2014 and support for separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine landed President Vladimir Putin in what appeared to be international isolation with economic sanctions slapped against the economy and Russia kicked out of the G8 group of nations.

President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi will be addressing the St. Petersburg economic forum on Thursday and Friday in an apparent sign of an emerging movement within the EU to ease economic sanctions on Russia.