Vladimir Putin called Barack Obama today.
The Russian president complained about extremists intimidating civilians in Ukraine.

The New York Times reported:

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia called President Obama on Friday to discuss a proposal by Mr. Obama for a diplomatic resolution to the crisis in Ukraine, and the two leaders agreed that their chief diplomats should meet soon to explore it, the White House said.

In a statement from the White House, officials said that the telephone call from the Russian president followed a proposal presented by Secretary of State John Kerry to Sergey V. Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, during talks at the Hague earlier this week.

While there was no immediate indication that either side was prepared to give ground, Mr. Putin’s telephone call in itself appeared to represent a shift in tone aimed at defusing a serious rupture in relations and Russia’s increaing isolation.

Officials did not describe details about the proposal but said that Mr. Obama told Mr. Putin during the call that the United States would like to see a diplomatic solution that involves Russia pulling back its troops from the Crimean Peninsula and not making any further steps to invade other parts of Ukraine.

 

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