Obama tells Putin there's a diplomatic fix

McClatchy Washington BureauMarch 6, 2014 

President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke at length for the second time in less than a week -- but didn't appear to reach a resolution.

The White House says the two spoke for an hour and that Obama emphasized to Putin "that Russia’s actions are in violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, which has led us to take several steps in response, in coordination with our European partners."

Obama also told Putin that there's a way to "resolve the situation diplomatically" which he said would address Russia's concerns, as well as Ukraine's "and the international community."

He proposed that the governments of Ukraine and Russia hold direct talks, facilitated by the international community.

"International monitors could ensure that the rights of all Ukrainians are protected, including ethnic Russians; Russian forces would return to their bases; and the international community would work together to support the Ukrainian people as they prepare for elections in May," the White House said.

Obama told Putin that Secretary of State John Kerry would continue discussions with Russia's Foreign Minister Lavrov, the government of Ukraine, and other international partners to advance those objectives.

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