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Putin Open to Meeting Obama at UN

FILE - Presidents Obama and Putin.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is open to a meeting with President Barack Obama when the Russian leader visits the United States to participate in the United Nations General Assembly next month, Russia's foreign minister said Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters in Sevastopol, Crimea, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov confirmed that Putin will attend the 70th session of the U.N. General Assembly, which opens in New York on September 15.

Lavrov said Putin could meet with President Obama if the U.S. side signals it wants a meeting.

"We presume that our American colleagues are sending us signals that they want to continue to maintain contact," he said. "And if there is such a proposal on their part, I think our president will view it constructively."

According to a provisional list of speakers the U.N. issued last month, Putin will address the General Assembly on September 28, the first days of its general debate.

Wednesday was the second day of a visit by Putin and other top Russian officials to Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula Russia annexed from Ukraine last year.

Speaking in Sevastopol, home base of Russia's Black Sea fleet, Putin said "external forces" were threatening to destabilize the situation on the peninsula.

"They speak about this openly in some capitals, about the need to carry out subversive activities; corresponding structures are formed, cadres are recruited and prepared for sabotage," the Russian president said.

Earlier this week, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called the visit by Putin and other top Russian officials to Crimea "a challenge to the civilized world."

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