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

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book 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.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs