Obama calls Putin, offers diplomatic resolution

President Obama held an hour-long phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin Thursday afternoon to discuss the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.


Obama emphasized to Putin that Russia’s military incursion into Ukraine's Crimean peninsula violated the country's sovereignty, "which has led us to take several steps in response, in coordination with our European partners," Obama said in a White House statement.

Obama also outlined a diplomatic solution to the ongoing unrest, which would include direct talks between the Ukraine and Russia governments, ensuring Russian forces return to their bases and installing international monitors to protect the rights of all Ukrainians.

"There is a way to resolve the situation diplomatically, which addresses the interests of Russia, the people of Ukraine, and the international community," the White House said.

The call — the first known contact between the leaders since Saturday — came hours after Obama said that new sanctions on Russia will "impose a cost" for its military action in Ukraine.

Obama indicated that Secretary of State John KerryJohn KerryFor Joe Biden, an experienced foreign policy team Biden's trade policy needs effective commercial diplomacy Biden taps ex-Obama aide Anita Dunn as senior adviser MORE would continue discussions with Foreign Minister Lavrov, the government of Ukraine, and other international partners to advance those objectives.