Obama Phones Putin on Ukraine, Offers Diplomatic Solutions
U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin found little common ground during an hour-long phone call to discuss the crisis in Ukraine.
During the call Thursday, the White House says President Obama told Mr. Putin the presence of Russian forces in the Crimean Peninsula is a violation of Ukraine's sovereignty.
It is the first known direct contact between the leaders since Russian military personnel appeared in the Ukrainian territory Saturday, following the ouster of Ukraine's Moscow-friendly leaders.
A Kremlin statement Friday quoted Mr. Putin as saying Ukraine's new Western-backed leaders are illegitimate and are dictating "absolutely illegitimate decisions to the eastern and southeastern regions of Ukraine and Crimea."
While Mr. Putin stressed the "paramount importance" of Russian-American relations, he said "Russia cannot ignore calls for help in this matter and it acts accordingly, in full compliance with international law."
The White House said Mr. Obama proposed several diplomatic solutions to the standoff, which it said address "the interests of Russia, the people of Ukraine and the international community."
As part of the solution, the president called for direct talks between Kyiv and Moscow that would be mediated by the international community. Mr. Obama also called for all Russian forces to return to their bases and for international monitors to ensure the safety of all Ukrainians, including ethnic Russians.
Two Wounded Near Bangkok Protest Camp
Thai medical officials say two people were shot and wounded in separate incidents in Bangkok overnight, near the main camp of anti-government protesters.
The Erawan emergency center said Friday morning that after shots were heard near Lumpini Park, the protest site of the People's Democratic Reform Committee, a man and a women were found wounded. They were sent to separate hospitals and have already been discharged.
About 20 people have been killed and more than 700 injured since Thailand's latest round of political conflict began last November.
Demonstrators are calling on caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to resign and make way for an unelected interim council to overhaul the political system and institute reforms.