Obama, Putin debated Ukraine facts during phone call
March 4th, 2014
08:53 PM ET
10 months ago

Obama, Putin debated Ukraine facts during phone call

(CNN) – President Barack Obama and Russia's Vladimir Putin spent much of their time in their one conversation in recent days on Ukraine arguing about facts on the ground.

An Obama administration official says Putin, in the 90-minute phone call on Saturday, argued that the rights of ethnic Russians are being threatened.

Obama responded that he was wrong, the official added.

Obama expressed his deep concern over Russia's clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity, according to a previous White House readout of the call.

And he told Putin any concerns about the treatment of ethnic Russians and minority populations in Ukraine should be addressed peacefully and through the United Nations.

More information about the conversation was provided to reporters at a briefing Tuesday during which the official predicted that Obama and his Russian counterpart would talk again soon.

On Putin's state of mind, the official disputed any notion the Russian leader was not thinking clearly.

The New York Times reported Monday that German Chancellor Angela Merkel described Putin as "in another world" in a phone call she had with Obama over the weekend.

Putin, the administration believes, is threatened by challenges to his influence, especially popular uprisings against governments that are supportive of the Russian leader, said the official who pointed to Russia's invasion of Georgia as an example of Putin's pattern of behavior.


Filed under: President Obama • Ukraine • Vladimir Putin
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Smitty

    When your Pres is the BIGGEST LIAR OF THE YEAR winner, we should not be shocked that Putin is eating him up.
    Between the Oblundercare mess, lying to the public and now getting bent by Putin we are in deep crap. On the up side
    Obammy wants to raise taxes, again. Waiting for the jobs pivot. Maybe he should call the 80 s and get the playbook he made fun of Mitty about. Well at least Jimmy Carter is happy !!!! Is gitmo still open ?????

    March 4, 2014 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  2. rs

    I guess Russia's taking of part of the Ukraine is different for Republicans from Russia taking Georgia (wherein Bush's response was to go fishing-literally), just like Republicans could go to the wall over the 4 deaths in Benghazi, but they somehow have no emotions over the 61 who died in 12 similar events during the Bush Administration.

    In their shifting world of hate and obstruction, pretty much everything justifies attacking the government and the President.

    So, who is our enemy again- Putin or the GOP?

    March 4, 2014 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  3. Chris-E...al

    They are like two peas in a pod ! The apple dont fall far from the tree . birds of a feather flock u know . Brady bunch .U.2. 2live crew. Thompson Twins. Milly Vanilli .

    March 4, 2014 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  4. Stuffitu

    Did Obozo bring up the fact that Romney called it right in a debate in 2012? Did he point out that Palin called it even earlier in 2008? Even if he didn't, i am sure Putin knows about it and how the mainstream media and the most corrupt, incompetent, inept president in our history demeaned and denigrated them for saying it. This all occurred of course while Hillary was giggling about her "reset" button.

    March 4, 2014 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  5. J'Cincinnati'Redd

    Putin, is ready for war. We on the other hand,just want peace. Sorry the thugs of the world do not fear OBAMA.

    March 4, 2014 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  6. Thomas

    This is what happens when you mix "Chuck" Norris with KGB , Vladimir Putin.

    When will people from all over the world , in every country do the right thing and stand up against gangster corruption !

    March 4, 2014 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  7. noneyogetit0011232

    Putin was a little odd and a relic of an earlier time but I never imagined to this extent...

    Puppet Presidents who have been ousted giving their blessing to foreign invasion by the country they are exiled in? Seriously?! The rights of "ethnic Russians"? That makes almost as little sense as "ethnic Americans". Nationality and ethnicity are separate classifications.

    This is an attempted war of conquest. It is blatant and the UN would NORMALLY have mechanisms to stop it but the UN is somewhat broken when one of the 5 world powers has sunk low enough to be using excuses this transparent.

    Russia/Putin had better remember that its seat on the Security Council is inherited from the USSR, as is most of their clout. The US and China are the only military powers in a league of their own and if this really came down to "rest of the world" vs. Russia it would not be World War 3. It would be a messy but decisive defeat for Russia because they are not the USSR... they are biggest leftover piece of many pieces (all of which are poor). Problem is the former KGB head is exactly the kind of person who would forget that...

    March 4, 2014 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  8. Thomas

    Russia's incursion into Ukraine is setting off alarm bells in Tokyo, where officials worry that any push by Japan's Western allies to impose economic penalties will undermine its drive to improve relations with Moscow.

    Maybe we should tell Japan to call Russia and ask them for help when China takes the disputed islands .

    It's funny , how freedom and democracy go out the window when it comes to energy .

    March 4, 2014 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  9. ED1

    Putin could care less about what Obama says or anyone else nobody will stop them we are just full of threats no backbone since Obama took office we are a joke to the other countries.

    March 4, 2014 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  10. Wes

    Looks like the uhbama got schooled by Putin.

    March 4, 2014 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  11. S. B. Stein

    Putin is looking to put the Soviet Union back together getting every area might have ethnically Russian people into the modern Russian state. It seems, as other people have commented, like Hitler's attempt to get all ethnic Germans under German control; Putin wants all Russians under his control.

    March 4, 2014 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  12. J.V.Hodgson

    Putin will in the end allow a referendum, but if the national poll supports the new government that ousted Yanukovych mationally he will insist that those area of eastern and south eastern that regionally voted no stay within Russia are allowed to do so.
    That means new borders and A new Ukriane. In any event he will keep Crimea due to the importance of Sevastopol and its port and access by Russian vessels.
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    March 4, 2014 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  13. wookieninja

    Putin doesn't Putin around.but in all seriousness let's just leave this up to the Russians and Ukrainians.there isn't a one world government and the UN needs too quit pretending to be so.every little squabble they have to get there hands on ends up worse than it began.

    March 4, 2014 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  14. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    I trust President Obama. He is the man that was elected to deal with situations like this. If you are a PATRIOT, you will back him during this time of crises and not add to the noise and confusion that his haters want to promote. What direction will YOU chose?

    March 5, 2014 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  15. PKranslovski

    This is, to me, a predictable enough situation that we should have had contingency plans covering this particular scenario.
    Let's assume everybody is trying to follow some sort of script here, just for argument's sake.
    Putin has his particular agenda and biases in how he views things. Obama also has these problems in how he views things.
    In both cases, there is a level of outside influence and a level of individual influence on how everyone's reactions are expressed.

    While I cannot speak for Putin, Obama has lots of advisors and resources he can use to help in forming our foreign policy response. So far, I have not seen a Constitutional response or one based upon any particular treaty obligations, nothing is heard from Congress (which is probably just as well), and trying to unfurl the umbrella of UN involvement is a prudent and rational step to take, but there is something of a lack of credibility on these words coming from our President and Secretary of State in this developing situation.
    For Obama to insist that Putin observe international law while he expressly allows and fosters the US Gov't's violations of those exact same laws...is more than just hypocrisy, it de-legitimizes our whole foreign policy, which hasn't really been all that great so far, to be brutally honest.

    What I think should happen, then, is for Obama and Kerry to bring in the UN with the blessing of the other Security Council members and to help the UN forces to prevail in the will of the United Nations, enforce international law, while stepping back and STANDING DOWN, because we don't have any credibility on these issues, but the UN does.
    That's it. That's my comment. Apologies for the length.

    March 5, 2014 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  16. YoonYoungJo

    Of course there are other options. Bringing the concerns of Russians in Ukraine could have easily been handled through the UN. Its obvious when the worst, most aggressive, most selfish action is taken it has nothing to do with concern for anyone or anything else but oneself.

    March 5, 2014 01:37 am at 1:37 am |
  17. bassman

    CNN could have used the picture of Pres. Obama standing on a first grade alphabet carpet to give a foreign policy speech. But that would have only happened if former Pres. Bush had done it.

    March 5, 2014 06:06 am at 6:06 am |
  18. Marie MD

    Isn't the Crimea region mostly Russian?
    Did Russia tell the shrub #43 not to invade Iraq for non existent WMDs?
    I don't remember them trying to prevent the war criminal and "dick" from what they wanted to do. Then again there's a lot going on that we are not privy to.

    March 5, 2014 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
  19. Gurgyl

    Put EU there to deal, we can be back supporters to EU, Middle-East, and South-East nations. Be very defensive, diplomatic. God bless you, Obama. Good lucks.

    March 5, 2014 07:36 am at 7:36 am |