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Putin Phones Obama On Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin called President Obama Friday to discuss a resolution to the current diplomatic standoff in Ukraine.
Posted at 11:25 PM, Mar 28, 2014

President Obama's had some pretty harsh words for Russian President Vladimir Putin over Russia's annexation of Crimea. (Via The White House)

OBAMA: "Russia is a regional power which is threatening its immediate neighbors not out of strength, but out of weakness." (Via The White House)

But Obama got a chance to speak directly to Putin Friday, after the Russian leader phoned the President during his visit to Saudi Arabia to discuss the ongoing Ukrainian crisis.

The phone call touched on a diplomatic resolution to the current standoff between the two countries, building on talks between Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. (Via U.S. Department of State)

The New York Times says the call "appeared to represent a shift in tone aimed at defusing a serious rupture in relations."

But what the two world leaders actually talked about over the phone is a little hard to decipher.

According to The White House, President Obama ​highlighted Ukraine's peaceful transition towards a democratically elected government, and "urged Russia to support this process and avoid further provocations."

But The Kremlin paints a much different picture of the call, saying the two men discussed the "continued rampage of extremists who are committing acts of intimidation towards peaceful residents ... in Kiev with impunity."

As The Washington Post quips, "It seems that there's only one thing the pair might agree on: They exchanged views on the phone."

One more takeaway from the call: Putin apparently directed Obama's attention to the troubled Transnistria region of Moldova, which one NATO general warned might be the next target of Russian expansion. (Via Channel 4)

Crimea voted to secede from Ukraine and join Russia on Mar. 16, a vote Western countries consider illegitimate.