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Putin Calls on Obama to ‘Use All Available U.S. Capabilities’ to Prevent Ukraine Violence

Over the weekend, pro-Russian demonstrators and military personnel the United States government believes are backed by the Kremlin stormed government buildings and attacked pro-Ukrainian demonstrators in East Ukraine in what some believe may be preparations for an invasion.

On Monday, President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin held a telephone conversation to discuss the escalating situation in Ukraine. According to the Russian version of the readout of that call, Putin urged Obama to use America’s “capabilities to prevent the use of force and bloodshed” in Ukraine.

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“The Russian side stressed that the protests in Donetsk, Lugansk, Kharkov, Slavyansk and other cities in southeastern Ukraine are the result of the Kiev authorities’ unwillingness and inability to take into account the interests of the Russian and Russian-speaking population,” the Kremlin’s version of an abstract summary of the telephone conversation read. “Vladimir Putin called upon Barack Obama to use the American side’s capabilities to prevent the use of force and bloodshed.”

Putin reportedly asserted that intelligence indicating Russian forces were behind the instability in Ukraine was based on “inaccurate information.”

As of early Monday evening, the White House has not yet put out its version of the readout from the call, but we will update this post accordingly when they do.

UPDATE (7:35pm ET): The White House released the below readout of Obama’s call with Putin Monday evening just after 7:30pm ET:

At Moscow’s request, President Obama spoke with Russian President Putin today about the situation in Ukraine. The President expressed grave concern about Russian government support for the actions of armed, pro-Russian separatists who threaten to undermine and destabilize the government of Ukraine. The President emphasized that all irregular forces in the country need to lay down their arms, and he urged President Putin to use his influence with these armed, pro-Russian groups to convince them to depart the buildings they have seized. The President reiterated the importance of Russia withdrawing its troops from Ukraine’s border in order to defuse tensions. President Obama noted that despite the rhetoric from Russian officials, the government of Ukraine has acted with remarkable restraint, and he praised the Ukrainian government’s efforts to unify the country by holding free and fair presidential elections on May 25, pursuing inclusive constitutional reform and proposing concrete steps toward the decentralization of power. The President noted Russia’s growing political and economic isolation as a result of its actions in Ukraine and made clear that the costs Russia already has incurred will increase if those actions persist. The President noted the upcoming contact group meeting in Geneva and said that while he continues to believe that a diplomatic solution is still possible, it cannot succeed in an environment of Russian military intimidation on Ukraine’s borders, armed provocation within Ukraine, and escalatory rhetoric by Kremlin officials.

[photo via Ria Novosti/Reuters]

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