The day that President Barack Obama suggested that Russian President Vladimir Putin get over his obsession with the collapse of the Soviet Union, guess who called Obama on the phone.
“President Putin called President Obama today to discuss the U.S. proposal for a diplomatic resolution to the crisis in Ukraine,” the White House press secretary’s office reported late this afternoon.
Obama was still in Saudi Arabia today when the call came in, as he closed a week-long trek across Europe for a national security summit in the Netherlands, European Union/NATO sessions in Brussels and a private audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican — along the way speaking out about Russia’s incursion in Ukraine and calling on Putin to pull back.
The Senate also approved sanctions against Russia and $1 billion in aid for Ukraine this week, with House leaders planning to pass that on Tuesday.
The White House noted today that Secretary of State John Kerry had presented the U.S. proposal to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at The Hague earlier this week — the indication at that time was that the Russian president wasn’t in a negotiating posture.
It’s Russia’s move, the White House says of the leaders’ talk today.
“President Obama suggested that Russia put a concrete response in writing,” the press office wrote in a statement issued, “and the presidents agreed that Kerry and Lavrov would meet to discuss next steps.”