Obama and Putin meet for first time since the Ukraine crisis
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) pasts US President Barack Obama as he arrives for a group photo of world leaders attending the D-Day 70th Anniversary ceremonies at Chateau de Benouville in Benouville, France, June 6, 2014.The D-Day ceremonies mark the 70th anniversary of the launching of 'Operation Overlord', a vast military operation by Allied forces in Normandy, which turned the tide of World War II, eventually leading to the liberation of occupied France and the end of the war against Nazi Germany. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, top left, walks towards his position for a group photo as U.S. President Barack Obama, bottom right, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, top left, Ukrainian president-elect Petro Poroshenko, bottom left, and other leaders get ready, during a commemoration for the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings, in Benouville, Normandy, France, Friday, June 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Russian President Vladimir Putin walks out after his meeting with French President Francois Hollande at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Thursday, June 5, 2014. The commemorations of the 70th anniversary of D-Day culminate on June 6, where U.S. President Barack Obama, French president Francois Hollande and Britain's Queen Elizabeth II will gather in Normandy to remember the more than 9,000 Allied soldiers killed or wounded that day. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
U.S. President Barack Obama, 2nd left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, 2nd right, pose during a group photo for the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings at Benouville castle, Friday, June 6, 2014. World leaders and veterans gathered by the beaches of Normandy on Friday to mark the 70th anniversary of World War Two's D-Day landings. Also pictured are Ukraine President-elect Petro Poroshenko, Slovakia's President Ivan Gasparovic, Norway's King Harald, Britain's Queen Elizabeth, French President Francois Hollande, Denmark's Queen Margrethe II, Luxembourg's Grand Duke Henri, Netherland's King Willem-Alexander, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron. (Regis Duvignau, pool)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, talks to French President Francois Hollande, 2nd right, as they walk next to U.S. President Barack Obama, center, Britain's Queen Elizabeth, Luxembourg's Grand Duke Henri and Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron after posing for a group photo for the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings at at Benouville castle, in Normandy, France, Friday, June 6, 2014. World leaders and veterans paid tribute on the 70th anniversary of the World War Two D-Day landings to soldiers who fell in the liberation of Europe from Nazi German rule, as host France sought to use the event to achieve a thaw in the Ukraine crisis. (Regis Duvignau, pool)
President of France Francois Hollande, centre, speaks flanked by US President Barack Obama, second left, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, centre left, Denmark's Queen Margrethe centre right, and Russian President Vladimir Putin during a luncheon for Heads of State at Chateau de Benouville in Benouville France Friday June 6, 2014. World leaders and dignitaries including President Barack Obama and Queen Elizabeth II gathered to honor the more than 150,000 American, British, Canadian and other Allied D-Day troops who risked and gave their lives to defeat Adolf Hitler's Third Reich. (AP Photo/Stephen Crawley, Pool)
U.S. President Barack Obama, right, shakes hands with Russia's President Vladimir Putin during arrivals for the G-20 summit at the Konstantin Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013. The threat of missiles over the Mediterranean is weighing on world leaders meeting on the shores of the Baltic this week, and eclipsing economic battles that usually dominate when the G-20 world economies meet. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks during a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Friday, May 2, 2014, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. Obama and Merkel are putting on a display of trans-Atlantic unity against an assertive Russia, even as sanctions imposed by Western allies seem to be doing little to change Russian President Vladimir Putin's reasoning on Ukraine. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at a reception marking Victory Day in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, May 8, 2014. The White House says President Barack Obama has no plans to meet with Putin when both leaders attend next month's events in France marking the 70th anniversary of D-Day. But the White House isn't criticizing France for welcoming Putin's visit, either. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service)
BACK TO SLIDE
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.