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article imageAmid troop build up Putin calls Obama to discuss Crimea

By Abdul Kuddus     Mar 29, 2014 in World
Kiev - Amid troop build up and escalating crisis over Russia’s annexation Crimea, President Vladimir Putin called US President Barack Obama Friday to discuss a proposal for resolving Ukrainian crisis.
“Russian president Vladimir Putin called President Barack Obama Friday to discuss a US-proposed diplomatic solution to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, the White House said in a statement,” Time reported.
Reportedly, during the call Obama envisaged the possibility of a diplomatic solution should Russia pull back its troops and refrain from further disturbing Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
The US had already criticized Moscow’s actions that violated Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Crimea's majority Russians voted to join Russia in a referendum earlier this month that Western nations considered illegal.
The United States has been asking Russia to demilitarize the Crimean bases and allow international monitors inside Crimea.
Russia’s interference in the politics of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea invited economic sanctions against Moscow and an outbreak of Cold War-style rhetoric between the US and Russia.
The call by Putin comes amid high tensions in Crimea. Russia’s massive troop build up along Ukraine’s eastern border raised international concern about another possible land grab by Russia.
Media outlets estimate the number of Russian forces near eastern and southern Ukraine is close to 30,000. Russia clarified the military build up as regular “exercises” saying they will not cross the Ukrainian border.
The telephonic conversation between the two leaders happened after US secretary of State John Kerry discussed the Crimean issue with his counterpart Sergei Lavrov earlier this week while attending a nuclear summit at The Hague.
“The White House says Obama suggested that Putin offer a written response to the proposed diplomatic solution presented to Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov by Secretary of State John Kerry earlier in the week,” the Voice of America reported.
Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Putin has assured him that he has no intention of further land grab in Ukraine. Ban while talking to reporters asked Russia and Ukraine to engage in direct and constructive dialogue to resolve the contentious issues.
Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin while talking to reporters in New York said, “it is up to the Ukrainians to restore order in their country,” the Voice of America reported.
"The armed groups must be disarmed, the radicals must be reined in and most importantly, there must be a constitutional process, there must be a constitutional assembly and the results of the constitutional assembly must be put to referendum," said Churkin.
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