Russian President Vladimir Putin called U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday to discuss a proposal for a diplomatic resolution to the Ukrainian crisis, the White House said in a readout of the call.
Obama told Russia to “put a concrete response in writing” to the U.S.’s proposal for a diplomatic solution, according to the White House. Obama told Putin that Secretary of State John Kerry would then meet with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, to discuss the proposal.
The Kremlin gave a very different version of the call. Though it said Putin “suggested examining possible steps the global community can take to help stabilise the situation,” the Kremlin also said Putin drew Obama’s attention to “continued rampage of extremists who are committing acts of intimidation towards peaceful residents” in various regions of Ukraine.
The call came as Russia has amassed tens of thousands of troops at the Ukrainian border, reportedly bringing the total near 40,000. A U.S. intelligence report on Wednesday warned of a “more probable” Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Obama urged Putin to pull back his troops from the border in order to de-escalate the situation, the White House said. Earlier on Friday, in an interview with CBS’ Scott Pelley, Obama said Putin was “entirely misreading” the West and American foreign policy with respect to the Ukrainian crisis.
Here’s the full readout of the Obama-Putin call from the White House:
President Putin called President Obama today to discuss the U.S. proposal for a diplomatic resolution to the crisis in Ukraine, which Secretary Kerry had again presented to Foreign Minister Lavrov at the meeting at the Hague earlier this week, and which we developed following U.S. consultations with our Ukrainian and European partners. President Obama suggested that Russia put a concrete response in writing and the presidents agreed that Kerry and Lavrov would meet to discuss next steps.
President Obama noted that the Ukrainian government continues to take a restrained and de-escalatory approach to the crisis and is moving ahead with constitutional reform and democratic elections, and urged Russia to support this process and avoid further provocations, including the buildup of forces on its border with Ukraine.
President Obama underscored to President Putin that the United States continues to support a diplomatic path in close consultation with the Government of Ukraine and in support of the Ukrainian people with the aim of de-escalation of the crisis. President Obama made clear that this remains possible only if Russia pulls back its troops and does not take any steps to further violate Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. President Obama reiterated that the United States has strongly opposed the actions that Russia has already taken to violate Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
And here’s the Kremlin’s readout:
The two leaders continued exchanging views on the crisis in Ukraine.
Vladimir Putin drew Barack Obama’s attention to continued rampage of extremists who are committing acts of intimidation towards peaceful residents, government authorities and law enforcement agencies in various regions and in Kiev with impunity.
In light of this, the President of Russia suggested examining possible steps the global community can take to help stabilise the situation. The two presidents agreed that specific parameters for this joint work will be discussed by the Russian and US foreign ministers in the near future.
Vladimir Putin also pointed out that Transnistria is essentially experiencing a blockade, which significantly complicate the living conditions for the region’s residents, impeding their movement and normal trade and economic activities. He stressed that Russia stands for the fair and comprehensive settlement of the Transnistria conflict and hopes for effective work in the existing 5+2 negotiation format.
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