President Obama, Putin call on Ukraine

Readout of President Obama’s Call with President Putin

At Moscow’s request, President Obama spoke with Russian President Putin today about the situation in Ukraine.  The President expressed grave concern about Russian government support for the actions of armed, pro-Russian separatists who threaten to undermine and destabilize the government of Ukraine.

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The President emphasized that all irregular forces in the country need to lay down their arms, and he urged President Putin to use his influence with these armed, pro-Russian groups to convince them to depart the buildings they have seized.

The President reiterated the importance of Russia withdrawing its troops from Ukraine’s border in order to defuse tensions.  President Obama noted that despite the rhetoric from Russian officials, the government of Ukraine has acted with remarkable restraint, and he praised the Ukrainian government’s efforts to unify the country by holding free and fair presidential elections on May 25, pursuing inclusive constitutional reform and proposing concrete steps toward the decentralization of power.

The President noted Russia’s growing political and economic isolation as a result of its actions in Ukraine and made clear that the costs Russia already has incurred will increase if those actions persist.  The President noted the upcoming contact group meeting in Geneva and said that while he continues to believe that a diplomatic solution is still possible, it cannot succeed in an environment of Russian military intimidation on Ukraine’s borders, armed provocation within Ukraine, and escalatory rhetoric by Kremlin officials.

Russia puts out its version of the Obama, Putin Phone Call:

Putin urges Obama to prevent bloodshed in Ukraine

Putin said Russia stressed protest rallies in Ukranian Southeast are a result of the Kiev leadership’s unwillingness

MOSCOW, April 14, 23:54 /ITAR-TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin urged his US counterpart Barack Obama in a phone conversation to use the American side’s capabilities in full to prevent the use of force and a bloodshed in Ukraine, the Kremlin said Monday.

“The Russian side stressed that protest rallies in Donetsk, Lugansk, Kharkov, Slavyansk and other cities of the Ukrainian Southeast are a result of the Kiev leadership’s unwillingness and inability to take into account the interests of the Russian and Russian speaking population,” the Kremlin said.

Protests against the new self-proclaimed Ukrainian authorities, who came to power as a result of a coup in February, have erupted in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking eastern territories, namely the Donetsk, Lugansk and Kharkov regions, with demonstrators demanding referendums on the country’s federalization.

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