A defiant Vladimir Putin told President Obama his accusations of Russian meddling in Ukraine are mere “speculations” that are “based on inaccurate information,” as the two leaders discussed the brewing crisis in the country.
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In a phone conversation described by a senior administration official as “frank and direct,” Putin and Obama traded accusations of blame for violence that has gripped cities in the Eastern regions of the former Soviet republic.
According to the White House, President Obama expressed “grave concern” that Russia was supporting the armed separatists who had taken control of government buildings.
“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 White House said in a statement.