News / Europe

Obama, Putin Agree on Importance of Supporting Ukraine Agreement

President Barack Obama meets with members of the Democratic Governors Association, in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Feb. 21, 2014.
President Barack Obama meets with members of the Democratic Governors Association, in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Feb. 21, 2014.
U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by telephone on Friday about the agreement reached in Ukraine to end violence there. The White House welcomed the agreement, ratified by Ukraine's parliament, aimed at ending months of upheaval.

A White House statement said the president initiated the call to Putin to discuss Ukraine and a range of other global issues.

On Ukraine, they exchanged views on the need to quickly implement the political agreement reached in Kyiv, the importance of stabilizing the economic situation and undertaking necessary reforms, and the need for all sides to refrain from further violence.  

The statement said they also spoke about the situation in Syria, including the importance of efforts to advance a political solution, along with concerns over the humanitarian crisis and the necessity of a strong United Nations Security Council resolution on the issue. Also discussed was the need for the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to adhere to its commitment to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons program.  

Various subjects covered

Additionally, the White House said the two covered U.S.-Russian cooperation in the P5+1 process on Iran, and that Obama congratulated Russia on its hosting of the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.  

Before the White House statement was released, a senior State Department official briefed reporters.

Obama and Putin spoke for more than an hour, said the official, who added that the bulk of the discussion focused on Ukraine.

The State Department official said Putin affirmed that Russia wants to remain part of the implementation process and also said the two men spoke of the need to stabilize the Ukrainian economy. They pledged to remain engaged with European nations.

Rejecting Cold War talk

Obama and White House officials have gone out of their way to downplay suggestions that Ukraine represents a front in a new Cold War between Moscow and Washington.

Obama spoke about the issue earlier this week in Mexico following a North American leaders' summit.

"Our approach as the United States is not to see these as some Cold War chessboard in which we are in competition with Russia. Our goal is to make sure that the people of Ukraine are able to make decisions for themselves about their future," said Obama.

Press secretary Jay Carney was pressed Friday by reporters to explain why the Cold War analogy does not apply.

"It is very important to view this not as a tug-of-war between East and West or the United States and Russia, but a discussion that led to confrontation and violence, but hopefully now is retreating, but then will result in progress forward on behalf of a Ukrainian people, a proud people and a great nation that desire the right to determine their own future, and that is something the United States unequivocally supports," he said.
Carney said the United States will closely monitor implementation of the provisions of the agreement and added the U.S. does not rule out economic sanctions against Ukraine if violence continues.

Tense situation remains

The senior State Department official called the Ukraine agreement "very, very fragile," adding it will be a "very difficult complex process" going forward, requiring support from the international community.

The official called it an important signal that Obama and Putin were able to talk positively about implementing the deal, which the official said will continue to be a "tough sell for the opposition to make to those in the streets" because of violence and deaths in recent days.

Ukraine, Russia, the United States and Europe have shared interests, the official said, adding the task now is to move on and ensure that the fragile Ukrainian economy is stabilized.

Asked whether there was any suggestion by Putin that the U.S. has tried to meddle in an issue in Russia's neighborhood, the official said no, adding that the conversation was completely constructive.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: JKF2 from: GREAT NORTH (Canada)
February 21, 2014 10:23 PM
Good to see that both liders are on the same page; the relationship needs to go much further, Russia is a Western country, part of the Western world, with a culture based on Western ideas. Russia has stood by the West in the past, especially both WW, at great human costs, over 30 million Russians lost their lives in the two World Wars. The need, on the long term is for Russia, and not just the Ukraine, to fully engage and take its rightful place along the rest of the West.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid