US president insists Russia must pull troops back from Ukraine border in discussion over Crimea crisis
by David Graeber, The Guardian:
Russian president Vladimir Putin called Barack Obama on Friday to discuss a US diplomatic proposal for Ukraine and the US president told Putin that Russia must pull back its troops and not move deeper into Ukraine, the White House said.
It was believed to have been the first direct conversation between Obama and Putin since the US and its European allies began imposing sanctions on Putin’s inner circle and threatened to penalise key sectors of Russia’s economy.
Russia’s reinforcement of troops near Ukraine has brought the total forces there to as many as 40,000, US officials estimated on Friday in a buildup that has increasingly worried Washington in recent days.
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