News / Europe

Obama, Putin Discuss Ukraine in Phone Call

Members of OSCE mission to Ukraine examine the area of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 plane crash near the village of Hrabove, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine Friday, Aug. 1, 2014.
Members of OSCE mission to Ukraine examine the area of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 plane crash near the village of Hrabove, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine Friday, Aug. 1, 2014.
VOA News

U.S. President Barack Obama has spoken by telephone with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, with Obama saying the United States remains deeply concerned about Moscow's increased support for separatists in Ukraine.

Speaking to reporters at the White House Friday, President Obama said he discussed his preference for a diplomatic solution with the Russian leader.  Mr. Obama, however, said there are limits to what the United States can do.

"Right now what we've done is impose sufficient costs on Russia that objectively speaking they should, President Putin should want to resolve this diplomatically.  Get these sanctions lifted.  Get their economy growing again and have good relations with Ukraine; but sometimes people don't always act rationally and they don't always act based on their medium- or long-term interests.  That can't deter us though.  We just have to stay at it," said President Obama.

The White House says the two leaders "agreed to keep open their channels of communication."

The Kremlin, for its part, said Putin told the U.S. president in the telephone call that fresh sanctions imposed on Russia this week for its support for the separatists were "counterproductive" and would cause "serious damage to bilateral cooperation and international stability."

Also Friday, several dozen international investigators began working at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in eastern Ukraine.

Investigators from the Netherlands and Australia, along with officials from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or OSCE, began combing an area now designated as a crime scene.

They will focus on recovering several dozen bodies still missing and retrieving the belongings of the 298 people killed when the Boeing 777 was shot down last month.

In another development, 10 Ukrainian paratroopers were killed Friday in an ambush by pro-Russian separatists near the town of Shakhtarsk, which is located not far from the crash site.

The acting commander of Ukraine's airborne troops, Colonel Yuriy Halushkin told reporters in Kyiv 13 other paratroopers were wounded and 11 are missing.

Ukraine and Western governments blame rebels for the shootdown.  U.S. analysts say the jetliner was likely downed by pro-Russian separatists launching a Russian missile.  There were no survivors.

Rebels intent on establishing autonomous republics near the Russian border have been battling Ukrainian troops for three months.

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Comment Sorting
by: Jill from: Pennsylvania
August 03, 2014 2:50 PM
In our country, we have the writ of habeas corpus, as you know, meaning that a person arrested may not be held without sufficient evidence. Furthermore, if held, he is to be considered innocent until proven guilty. In the U.S. news, we are now reading reports by a German investigator, pilot-cum-air-technology expert,Peter Haisenko, who says the holes in the plane were not made by a missile, but a close range weapon like the ones owned by the Ukrainian govt, SU-25 fighter planes, 2 of which were spotted near the Malaysian airliner at that time by the Spanish air traffic control, as reported in Investment Watch. Until this is confirmed , however, the only one to blame for this tragic accident is the Malaysian passenger plane who flew through a civil WAR ZONE!!
In Response

by: AL
August 04, 2014 9:16 AM
Perhaps forensic examination of the fuselage components may also assist identification. However it is possible that satellite imagery has identified what may have struck the plane. What is really required is that Russia extradite those involved in the downing of MH 17 to the Hague. Habeas Corpus in criminal acts such as this are akin to war, in which case, it is irrelevant. Nobody should be exonerated for a dastardly deed, such as shooting down this aircraft. It is up to Russia to make the choice. The world is waiting.

by: Gennady from: Russia, Volga Region
August 02, 2014 12:08 PM
To Anonymous
It is counterproductive, superficial and provocative to jump into hasty conclusions about somebody’s guilt in the shotdowning, as it is not still proved without doubts that there was a rocket. There are different assumptions about “Who did this?”
By analogy, Kalashnikov machine guns are being used in military conflicts all over the world after having been produced in dozen of countries without Russia’s license. There were cases when the guns were stolen or captured from depots of the weak governments. Will you blame Russia for the deaths caused by the outstanding machine guns in wrong hands? The same with the rocket in question. It was an obsolete one, the remnant of 1980-s and had been stockpiled in Ukraine as a former ally of the USSR. It is known fact that the rockets were not properly stored by Ukraine government and were repossessed by rebels and could have been captured by anybody.

by: Igor from: Russia
August 01, 2014 10:47 PM
Waging war and blaming each other will not solve the Ukraine civil war. The war has come as the result of different opinions between the West and the East of Ukraine. Firstly those in power in Kiev must withraw all troops from Eastern Ukraine to give ways for dialogues and to break the ice of distrust. A concilliation dialogue between Ukaine's government representatives and the representatives of Eastern Ukraine must be held in a neutral country to find out the most suitable solution for Eastern Ukraine. It is high tine for Ukraine to stop the use of force, to reconcile, to respect different views, to forgive. All sides must not get stucked with threats, killings, hatred, using the language of sactions and blaming each other for that. Innocent people has suffered enough!.

by: Anonymous
August 01, 2014 2:37 PM
Counterproductive really? what would Mr Putin have us believe, that the downing of that aircraft was not done with a Russian manufactured missile battery? No sir, you really have to be courageous enough to ensure that those responsible for this atrocity are extradited to the Hague. Only then will Russia's credibility be restored and perhaps the sanctions aspect seriously reconsidered by the EU and lifted.
In Response

by: Jill from: Pennsylvania
August 03, 2014 3:03 PM
Nothing has been proven, and , even if it were, there will never be proof that it was intentional and not an accident by one of the disparate factions in the Ukrainian Civil War fearing a overhead bombing by the other. For honest people, this one will for ever remain an accident, albeit a very tragic one, but still an accident. There should be no sanctions, as the our U.S. govt. gives missiles and weapons to plenty of countries that aren't even on our border and don't even have any Americans in them. I used to be proud to be an American. However, at the present time, I am ashamed of our hypocrisy. Although a Democrat, unless things change drastically, I, and everyone with whom I have spoken, will definitely be voting Republican in the next election.

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