MOSCOW, February 11. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Barack Obama emphasized the need for a political solution to the internal conflict in Ukraine to swiftly end the bloodshed in the country's south-east, the Kremlin press service said in a statement on Tuesday reporting a phone conversation between the two leaders.
"The presidents of Russia and the United States stressed the need to resolve Ukraine’s internal problems through political dialogue, to swiftly end the bloodshed, and to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of residents of all Ukrainian regions, including the south-east," the Kremlin said.
Putin gave "a detailed assessment of the situation in Ukraine’s south-east with an emphasis on Russian latest proposals, being discussed also in the context of preparing for a high-level meeting in Minsk planned for February 11," the Kremlin said, adding that the two leaders agreed to maintain contacts at different levels aimed at harmonising positions and approaches to the Ukraine crisis.
The conversation was the first time the heads of state of the two countries had talked by telephone over the past six months. The last time the Kremlin reported a phone call was in August 2014. According to reports, Putin and Obama spoke once on the sidelines of November's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Beijing, China, but they only had a brief exchange of views.
On Wednesday, Putin is due to meet the leaders of Ukraine, Germany and France in the Belarus capital Minsk in an effort to broker a peace deal.