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Obama and Putin meet for first time since the Ukraine crisis

BENOUVILLE, France (AP) -- President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke Friday on the sidelines of a lunch for world leaders attending D-Day commemoration ceremonies, marking their first face-to-face conversation since the crisis in Ukraine erupted.

The conversation was informal and lasted 10-15 minutes inside a chateau where the leaders ate lunch, the White House said.

Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Obama and Putin had exchanged views about the situation in Ukraine and the crisis in the east, where Ukrainian forces have been fighting with pro-Russian insurgents.

"Putin and Obama spoke for the need to end violence and fighting as quickly as possible," Peskov said.

As leaders posed outside the building for a group photo before the lunch, Obama and Putin appeared to be avoiding each other deliberately. But once inside, they made time for their first such exchange since Putin annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula.

As the crisis as developed, Obama and Putin spoke multiple times by phone. But they had not met in person until their mutual interest in paying tribute to the bravery of Allied forces 70 years ago brought them both to the shores of France.

Obama told reporters Thursday that if he and Putin ended up speaking, he would tell the Russian leader that he has a new path to engage with Ukraine through President-elect Petro Poroshenko, who is scheduled to take office Saturday.

"If he does not, if he continues a strategy of undermining the sovereignty of Ukraine, then we have no choice but to respond" with more sanctions, Obama said.

Obama, who said his relationship with Putin is "businesslike," expressed hope that the Russian leader is "moving in a new direction" on Ukraine since he didn't immediately denounce Poroshenko's election on May 25. "But I think we have to see what he does and not what he says," Obama said.

Putin and Poroshenko also met in France on Friday, their first such meeting since Poroshenko was elected last month. The Kremlin said Putin and Poroshenko of their desire for a quick end to hostilities in southeastern Ukraine.

The Obama-Putin meeting followed a gathering earlier in the week in Brussels of leaders from the Group of Seven wealthier nations who pointedly met without Putin. Afterward, the leaders said the Russian president could avoid tougher sanctions in part by recognizing the legitimacy of the government that takes over in Ukraine on Saturday and ending support for an insurgency in eastern Ukrainian cities that the U.S. has said is backed by the Kremlin.

There was no mention of rolling back Russia's annexation of the Ukrainian region of Crimea. The U.S. and its allies have said the move is illegal and that they will not recognize it.

Friday's exchange came during a lunch hosted by French President Francois Hollande in Benouville. Obama and Putin were both in France, as were the other world figures, for the 70th anniversary of Allied troops storming the beaches at Normandy.

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BroPower June 06 2014 at 12:29 PM

Barack Obama reminded Putin of his promise once reelected..
He said, "After my election I'll be more flexibility," Obama said..
Then Obama bent over onto the nearest lunchtable and told Putin,
"O.K., have your way with me"...!

Flag Reply +99 rate up
20 replies
rayser711 June 06 2014 at 12:14 PM

I hope Putin gives Obozo a knuckle sandwich. The sight of Obozo sickens the world and the citizens of the USA, whom are tired of his lies and lack of respect for American laws and the U.S. constitution......Keep him over there so we do not have to deal with the likes of him anymore !

Flag Reply +97 rate up
31 replies
partsautomall June 06 2014 at 12:04 PM

impeach Obama,biden can dummy through for two years.elect ben carson,a real american

Flag Reply +94 rate up
23 replies
silkroadg June 06 2014 at 12:28 PM

IMPEACH THE LIAR IN CHIEF..............IMPEACH for consistently disregarding and breaking Constitutional LAW! Mr. Obama is a lawless entity who respects NOTHING except himself. This entire "news" report here is a hapless attempt by the ObamaMedia Machine to present Mr. Obama as looking like something he is NOT..........a PRESIDENT!

Oh and don't forget............ISLAM IS THE RELIGION OF PEACE.

Flag Reply +83 rate up
12 replies
prnyl June 06 2014 at 12:33 PM

Obumma the weak and the entire world knows it and is laughing at America for it's pantywaste leadership.

Flag Reply +68 rate up
8 replies
deerwithnofear June 06 2014 at 12:32 PM

Today's "leadership" is absolutely pathetic

Flag Reply +67 rate up
1 reply
ganderrrr deerwithnofear June 06 2014 at 12:41 PM

You sound like a follower. Nobody else whines "I want a leader!!"

Flag Reply +9 rate up
8 replies
jc1939 June 06 2014 at 12:40 PM

The amature and the hardend pro.Putin must be licking his chops. Obama is a total disaster as a world leader and Putin can guide him like a dog on a leash.. Now in the future he might have to deal with Hilary who was the worst Sec of State in US History.Think before you vote in two years folks.

Flag Reply +50 rate up
6 replies
KAHUNA717 June 06 2014 at 12:29 PM

What did Obama give away now to Putin?

Flag Reply +45 rate up
9 replies
coopdabomb June 06 2014 at 12:29 PM

Putin wanted to talk to him one last time before obamas impeached

Flag Reply +44 rate up
3 replies
bobcornerstone June 06 2014 at 12:35 PM

Putin probably told Obama that he was doing a good job.

Flag Reply +30 rate up
5 replies
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