Obama Was Speaking To Putin When The Malaysia Passenger Plane Crashed In Ukraine

Obama putinAP/Evan VucciIn this June 17, 2013, file photo, President Barack Obama meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland.

President Barack Obama spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday at the Kremlin’s request, a conversation in which they briefly discussed reports that a Malaysia Airlines passenger plane carrying nearly 300 people had been reportedly shot down near the Ukrainian border.

“President Putin near the end of the call with Obama noted the early reports of a downed passenger jet near the Russia-Ukraine border,” a White House pool report said, reading out comments from White House press secretary Josh Earnest aboard Air Force One.

The Kremlin also provided a readout on its website: “The Russian leader informed the U.S. president of the report from air traffic controllers that the Malaysian plane had crashed on Ukrainian territory, which had arrived immediately before the phone call.”

There were no survivors of the crash. An adviser to Ukraine’s Interior Minister has said 23 U.S. citizens were among those on board who were killed in the crash.

Earnest told reporters the Kremlin requested the call to discuss new sanctions leveled by the United States on Russia Wednesday. The Kremlin said the leaders “discussed in detail the acute crisis in Ukraine.”

“Putin reiterated the need for the immediate and unconditional cessation of hostilities by both parties in the south-east of Ukraine, [which] has led to numerous deaths and forced hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians to seek refuge in Russia,” the Kremlin said in its readout, according to a Google translation.

The Kremlin also noted Putin expressed “serious disappointment” over the U.S.’s decision to impose new sanctions on Russia.

The White House has not provided a full readout of the call.

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