EU, Russia looking for scarce common ground at summit; Ukraine, human rights divide them

Russian President Vladimir Putin and European Union leaders are looking for meager common ground during what promises to be a difficult summit centering on Ukraine and human rights.

Already shortened to Tuesday's 2 ½ hours instead of the usual two-day format, the summit will see Putin and EU President Herman Van Rompuy seek to bridge their differences.

Ukraine's last-minute refusal to sign up to a wide-ranging trade and cooperation deal with the EU under pressure from Moscow led to massive street protests and the current political chaos in Ukraine. The EU insists Russia has used financial incentives and undue pressure to turn Ukraine away from Europe.

Van Rompuy has also stressed the "common interest" of the two in working together to further develop trade relations.