While the world was riveted by the latest Malaysian Airlines tragedy, Obama and Putin spoke. According to Reuters, Obama warned Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday that the United States and its allies are prepared to impose additional sanctions on Moscow if it does not change course in Ukraine.
The blunt warning came during a phone call on Thursday.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest, briefing reporters on Obama's Air Force One flight from Washington to Delaware, said Obama was briefed by his advisers on the crash and directed top U.S. officials to remain in close contact with Ukrainian officials.
Earnest said the Obama-Putin phone call was made at the request of Moscow a day after the United States and European countries imposed new sanctions on Russia over its aggression against Ukraine.
Obama told Putin "additional steps are on the table if Russia doesn't change course," Earnest said.
Then the flipside, from Bloomberg:
- PUTIN TELLS OBAMA HE'S SERIOUSLY DISAPPOINTED AT SANCTIONS
And yes, the crash was discussed:
"Russian President Vladimir Putin in a telephone conversation told U.S. President Barack Obama that a Malaysian airplane crashed on Ukrainian territory, the Kremlin said on Thursday.
The two leaders held a pre-planned call on the situation in Ukraine during which information became available from air traffic controllers about the crash."
Expect many more such conversations, which will hardly be cordial, and a serious escalation in relations, now that there is a smoking gun provocation, which many are already equating with the modern version of the "Franz Ferdinand" moment.