Obama, Putin Have 'Tense' Phone Call

Moscow 'not fooling anybody' in Ukraine, White House says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 15, 2014 1:38 AM CDT
Obama, Putin Have 'Tense' Phone Call
Ukrainian soldiers sit on top of military vehicles with a Ukrainian national flag near the eastern Ukrainian town of Slovyansk.   (AP Photo/Russian Reporter magazine, Maxim Dondyuk)

In what the White House describes as a "frank and direct" phone call, President Obama warned Vladimir Putin that while the US would like to see a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis, Moscow's actions are not conducive to one. Officials say Obama told the Russian leader that Ukraine had made "real offers " to address regional desire for greater autonomy and Washington has "grave concerns" about Russian support for separatists who have seized government buildings in the country's east, Reuters reports.

White House spokesman Jay Carney accused Russia of orchestrating the unrest in eastern Ukraine, rejecting Moscow's claim that locals are behind the protests, the Guardian reports. "It is a heavy-handed approach, but an approach Russia has familiarity with, having taken it in the past—including in the Soviet past. But it is not fooling anybody," he told reporters. "It is not often that you have, in a variety of cities all at the same time, a bunch of men wearing military gear without insignia, including bulletproof vests, suddenly sprouting up organically in the form of protest." US officials revealed yesterday that a Russian fighter jet made multiple close-range passes near an American warship near the Black Sea over the weekend. (Read more Vladimir Putin stories.)

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