Putin Calls Obama to Discuss Ukraine Diplomacy
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Barack Obama have discussed the situation in Ukraine over an hour-long phone call.
The phone call was made by Putin, during Obama's visit to Saudi Arabia on Friday, the BBC reveals.
"President Obama underscored to President Putin that the US continues to support a diplomatic path, with the aim of de-escalation of the crisis", a White House statement read.
The US President told his colleague that diplomacy can only work if Russia pulls out its troops from Ukrainian territory.
On his part, Vladimir Putin spoke about the danger posed by extremists in Ukraine, and the need to protect the country's ethnic Russian minority.
A US proposal for de-escalating the crisis includes sending a team of international monitors to Crimea. Currently, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has observers in Ukraine, but not in the breakaway Crimea region.
On March 16, Crimea voted to split from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation, in a referendum not recognized by the West.