President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin had an awkward moment at the celebration commemorating the 70th Anniversary of D-Day.
As the two passed each other in the hallway, they initially failed to make eye contact, but as many high school issues are eventually resolved, the two took a sidebar in the lunchroom, where Barack Obama, reportedly, spoke sternly to the Russian President over Putin’s actions in Ukraine, while Putin talked vaguely about a cease fire between Russian and Ukrainian troops.
The White House is downplaying the conversation as “informal,” which means we probably got next to no benefit from it, but Barack Obama did do a dry run of his remarks to the Russian President for reporters yesterday.
U.S. President Barack Obama had stern words for his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin over Russia’s actions in Ukraine, following a meeting Thursday of G7 leaders in Brussels, Belgium, at which Russia was excluded.
Putin “has a chance to get back into a lane of international law,” Obama said.
But for this to happen, he said, Putin must take steps over the coming weeks that include recognizing Ukraine’s new President-elect Petro Poroshenko, stopping the flow of weapons over the border into Ukraine and ceasing Russian support for pro-Russia separatists in Ukraine.
“We cannot simply allow drift,” Obama said, speaking alongside British Prime Minister David Cameron following bilateral talks.
“The mere fact that some of the Russian soldiers have moved back from the border and that Russia is now destabilizing Ukraine through surrogates, rather than overtly and explicitly, does not mean that we can afford three months, or four months, or six months, of continued violence and conflict in eastern Ukraine.”
Whether he used such strong language in the actual conversation remains to be seen. Judging by the week’s events, it is entirely possible that Barack and Vladimir merely exchanged pleasantries and workout tips for “leg day.” The Russian President, is of course, a Judo master and frequently appears in public without his shirt, to shower his subjects with visions of his physique. President Obama was featured in a cell phone video taken earlier this week, awkwardly “pumping iron” with two small hand weights.
The two leaders will depart for their respective countries tomorrow.
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