News / Europe

    Putin Calls Obama to Discuss Ukraine Crisis

    Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at a Security Council meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, March 28, 2014.
    Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at a Security Council meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, March 28, 2014.
    VOA News
    Russian President Vladimir Putin called U.S. President Barack Obama Friday to discuss a U.S. proposal for resolving the crisis in Ukraine.

    The White House says Obama suggested that Putin offer a written response to the proposed diplomatic solution presented to Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov by Secretary of State John Kerry earlier in the week.

    A White House statement about the call did not give details of the proposal Kerry gave Lavrov, but the United States has been pressing Russia to pull back its troops to their Crimean bases and allow international monitors to go into Crimea to assure that the ethnic Russian minority there is safe.

    Obama says the Ukrainian government continues to take a "restrained and de-escalatory" approach to the crisis and urged Russia to support this process and avoid further provocations.

    Lavrov and Kerry are expected to meet again in the coming days to discuss the next steps.

    Earlier, in an interview with CBS, Obama said Russia's military moves near the Ukrainian border may be an effort to intimidate Ukraine.

    Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Putin has assured him that Russia has no intention of making additional moves into Ukrainian territory.

    In comments to reporters at the U.N. Friday, Ban urged Russia and Ukraine to avoid "hasty actions" and immediately engage in direct and constructive dialogue to resolve their problems.

    On Thursday, the head of Ukraine's national security council said Russia has close to 100,000 troops along Ukraine's borders in the north, south, and east. He said Russian forces are in full readiness to strike. Western experts believe the number of Russian forces near eastern and southern Ukraine is close to 30,000.

    Russia says the soldiers are involved in "springtime exercises" and has assured the United States they will not cross the border.

    Additionally, a top Russian security official told Putin on Friday that there has been "a sharp increase in external threats to the state."

    Alexander Malevany, the Federal Security Service's counter-terrorism director, also said what he called the "legitimate desire of the peoples of the Crimea and eastern regions of Ukraine to be together with Russia" had aroused "hysteria" among the United States and its allies.

    Also Friday, Russia described as "counterproductive" a U.N. resolution that refuses to recognize its annexation of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine. Russia's Foreign Ministry said the U.N. General Assembly resolution will only complicate efforts to settle Ukraine's internal political crisis.

    The U.N. General Assembly passed the non-binding resolution on Thursday, with 100 countries in favor, 11 opposed and 58 abstaining.

    Crimea's majority Russian residents voted to break away from Ukraine and join Russia in a referendum earlier this month that Western powers deemed illegal.

    Ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych called Friday for referendums to determine the status of all Ukrainian regions. He said only a nationwide referendum and not an early presidential election can stabilize Ukraine and preserve its sovereignty and integrity.
     
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    Comments
         
    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    March 29, 2014 11:11 AM
    Between Obama and Putin, seems one is a teacher, the other a school boy. Or one is a boss, the other a subordinate. Obama must have issued an earlier query concluding like, 'explain to the undersigned, in writing, within 24 hours, why you premeditated to, and carried out the annexation of, Crimea; failing which... disciplinary measures will be meted out to you'. These Crimean officials are chronic liars - or how did their eyes form 100,000 soldiers when in reality there may not be up to 30,000? All for the sake of sympathy from Europe and America!

    Kudos to Vladimir Putin for initiating that call. These days we see a lot of greatness in the wise and mighty stooping low to listen to the weak.I think Putin is trying to avert an escalation or aggravation of existing situation. Does Mr. Obama understand that this not a sign of weakness or a time to show a macho muscle? The situation in Ukraine is created by US and allies, and their efforts at ostracizing Russia on account of it has only led to deterioration of existing peace. Now there is a fear East Ukraine may go too, time is ticking! Obama should not think this is an opportunity for him to try score a high diplomatic point against Putin, instead he should cease the opportunity to help cement world peace using Russia's initiative right now. If the opportunity is wasted, it will be a return to more blame game and passive threats of what can be done to make life miserable in Moscow; all of which will prove futile when the chips are down.

    by: Tia Gupta
    March 29, 2014 2:27 AM
    nice article.....

    by: Todor from: Spain
    March 29, 2014 12:55 AM
    EU must find a way to decrease consumption of Russian gas. Russia is a threat to us as well as for Ukraine. We must not pay money and make aggressor stronger.
    In Response

    by: meanbill from: USA
    March 29, 2014 1:17 AM
    Putin and Russia is a threat to Spain, you say? ... PLEASE explain why Putin and Russia would want the heavy indebted Spain? ... Putin and Russia only care for the innocent Russian people in Ukraine, and will use the (NATO rules), like NATO used the "Humanitarian reasons" to attack Yugoslavia (Serbia), and forced them to summit land for KOSOVO.... (AND?) .. now Russia will use those same (NATO rules) to protect innocent Russians for "Humanitarian reasons" from the violence from ultra-right-wing Ukraine extremists...

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