Obama, Putin discuss US sanctions on Russia
Washington: US President Barack Obama on Thursday spoke over the phone with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on the latest American sanctions slapped against Moscow and also discussed the Malaysian airliner that was reportedly shot down over Ukraine.
The phone call was done at the request of Moscow, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters travelling with the president aboard Air Force One.
"It was an opportunity for the president to make clear once again the important principles at stake here. The United States is committed to ensuring that this international norm of countries respecting the territorial integrity of other countries is prioritised," Earnest said.
"The President has made clear that the international community, the United States and our European allies are willing to take steps and impose economic costs on Russia if they decline to respect those basic norms," he said.
Earnest said Russia could take steps that would reduce the need for sanctions, but said that "additional steps" in the direction of more sanctions are "on the table" if they do not.
On the tone of the call, Earnest said Obama has frequently said that "his relationship with President Putin is very businesslike. That they do have a candid exchange of views when they have the opportunity to speak. That occurred again today".
Putin near the end of the call noted the early reports of a downed Malaysian passenger jet near the Russia-Ukraine border, Earnest said.
Putin spoke with Obama about the crash, the Kremlin said in a statement.
"The Russian leader informed the US president about an air-traffic controllers` report that came just before their phone conversation that a Malaysian plane crashed in Ukraine," the Kremlin statement said.
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