President Barack Obama is urging Russian President Vladimir Putin to pull back Russian troops from the border with Ukraine. The White House says Putin called Obama on Friday while the president was traveling internationally.
The White House says Obama urged Russia to offer a written response to a diplomatic resolution to the Ukraine crisis that the U.S. has presented. Both Presidents agreed that Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to discuss further steps. Obama says Ukraine’s government is pursuing de-escalation despite Russia’s incursion into Crimea. He urged Putin to support that and to stop building up troops on its border with Ukraine. The call comes as Ukraine’s government and the West are concerned about a possible Russian invasion in eastern Ukraine.
As Obama urges Russia to pull back its troops from the Crimean Penninsula Ukrainian officials claim some 100-thousand troops have amassed on the country’s border. Russian military analysts note that Ukraine’s estimate is far higher than the U-S military’s. Moscow, meanwhile, has denied troops are there at all. CCTV’s Anya Ardayeva reports from the Russian capital.