Readout of the President’s Call with President Putin of Russia
President Obama spoke with Russian President Putin today about the situation in Ukraine and the additional sanctions on Russian individuals and entities that the United States announced on July 16. President Obama emphasized that he remains committed to a diplomatic solution and that sanctions were not his preferred course of action. President Obama noted, however, that in the face of extensive evidence that Russia is significantly increasing the provision of heavy weapons to separatists in Ukraine and Russia’s failure to take other steps set out by the United States and Europe to de-escalate the crisis, it was necessary to impose additional sanctions, consistent with the clear statements from the United States and our allies following the G-7 meeting in Brussels. President Obama also reiterated his concerns regarding the buildup of Russian forces near the Ukrainian border. President Obama called on President Putin to take concrete steps to de-escalate the situation, including to press separatists to agree to a cease-fire, support a roadmap for negotiations, halt the flow of fighters and weapons into Ukraine, obtain the release of all hostages still held by the separatists, and work to establish an effective OSCE border-monitoring mechanism. He noted that Russia would face continued costs and isolation unless it takes these concrete steps. The President emphasized that Russia and the United States have a shared interest in supporting a stable and prosperous Ukraine. President Obama and President Putin agreed on the need for a peaceful resolution to the Ukraine crisis achieved through diplomatic means. During the call, President Putin noted the early reports of a downed passenger jet near the Russia-Ukraine border.