A week after Obama held his first crisis photo op holding a phone while supposedly talking to Putin, he has followed up with another, hour-long conversation. Below is the official White House statement on what was said.
Readout of President Obama’s call with President Putin of Russia
President Obama spoke for an hour this afternoon with President Putin of Russia.
President Obama emphasized 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.
President Obama indicated that there is a way to resolve the situation diplomatically, which addresses the interests of Russia, the people of Ukraine, and the international community.
As a part of that resolution, the governments of Ukraine and Russia would 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.
President Obama indicated that Secretary Kerry would continue discussions with Foreign Minister Lavrov, the government of Ukraine, and other international partners in the days to come to advance those objectives.
And here is the just released Kremlin version:
At the initiative of the American side was held a telephone conversation between Vladimir Putin and the President of the United States Barack Obama.
The acute situation in Ukraine was the topic of the continued conversation. The discussion revealed differences in the approaches and assessments of the causes of the current crisis and situation.
Vladimir Putin, in particular, noted that as a result of the anti-constitutional coup that does not have a national mandate, the current Ukrainian leadership is imposing the Eastern and Southeastern regions of Ukraine and Crimea absolutely illegitimate decisions. Russia can not ignore any appeals for helpd addressed to it in this regard, and is acting appropriately, in full compliance with international law.
The Russian President stressed the paramount importance of Russian-American relations to ensure stability and security in the world. These relations should not be sacrificed due to individual - albeit very important - international problems.
The two leaders agreed that the foreign ministers Sergei Lavrov and John Kerry will continue intensive contacts.
In other words, even more of the same. We eagerly await the Kremlin's take of the same phone conversation. In the meantime, while we await for the official visual from this particular photo op, here is the one from last Saturday.