Politics & Government

Obama to Putin: Stop Ukraine aggression

, Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to the media before departing from the G-20 summit in Brisbane, Australia, Nov. 15, 2014.
, Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to the media before departing from the G-20 summit in Brisbane, Australia, Nov. 15, 2014. AP

President Barack Obama said Sunday that he told Russian President Vladimir Putin that if he halts his military aggression in Ukraine that other nations would drop the economic sanctions lodged against his country.

“Russia has the opportunity to take a different path, to resolve the issue of Ukraine in a way that respects Ukraine’s sovereignty, that’s consistent with international law...if it does so, then I will be the first to suggest that we roll back the sanctions that are frankly having a devastating effect on the Russian economy,” Obama told reporters at a news conference.

Some world leaders criticized Putin this weekend at the G-20 meeting of the world’s largest economies for his involvement in Ukraine and threatened to lodge more economic sanctions against his nation.

But Russia has denied accusations that it was behind a recent escalation of military activity in Ukraine, where fighting has claimed more than 4,000 people.

Obama said he had several discussions with Putin both at the G-20 and at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Beijing. He said he would characterize the interactions as “business-like and blunt.”

“If he continues down the path that he is on...the isolation that Russia is currently experiencing will continue,” Obama said.

Obama said European leaders told him that Putin is not abiding by the spirit or letter of agreement he signed onto with respect to nearly Ukraine.

“It is not our preference to see Russia isolated the way it is,” he said. “We would prefer a Russia that is fully integrated, a global economy that is thriving on behalf of its people that can once again engage with us on cooperative efforts around global challenges.”

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