Obama talks Ukraine with Japan PM

President Obama discussed the ongoing turmoil in Ukraine with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday night, agreeing there is a diplomatic solution. 

The two leaders said they would work along with other members of the Group of Seven to “insist that Russia abide by its obligations and commitments to Ukraine’s sovereignty.”

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“The two leaders agreed that Russia’s actions are a threat to international peace and security and emphasized the importance of preserving Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” The White House said in a readout of the call. 

Members have already delayed preparations for a Group of Eight world leaders summit to be held in Russia later this summer.  

The White House added: “There is an opportunity for Russia to resolve the situation diplomatically, in a way that addresses its interests, as well as those of Ukraine and the international community.” 

Obama also highlighted a planned trip to Japan in April.

The administration has also sought to emphasize its close contact with European leaders in recent days. 

The call came after Obama spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin for an hour on Thursday night, the first public contact between the two since Russian forces entered the Crimea region of Ukraine, claiming to be protecting ethnic Russians.  

Earlier in the day, the White House had issued an executive order authorizing sanctions and travel restrictions on people the administration saw as being part of the invasion. 

The House also passed an aid bill for Ukraine on Thursday that would provide a $1 billion loan guarantee that the administration had previously outlined.