The Associated Press reports that Presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin held a 90-minute phone conversation yesterday. President Obama apparently tried to corner Putin by evoking various provisions of international law:
President Barack Obama on Saturday called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to de-escalate tensions in Ukraine by pulling his forces back to bases in the country’s Crimean region and to refrain from any interference elsewhere in Ukraine. […]“President Obama expressed his deep concern over Russia’s clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the White House said late Saturday in a statement, calling Russia’s actions a breach of international law, including Russia’s obligations under the U.N. Charter, and of its 1997 military basing agreement with Ukraine.
Here’s the Kremlin’s summary of the call. In a nutshell: a) The U.S. wanted the call so Putin took it. b) Nothing Obama said to Putin was particularly worth noting. c) Putin explicitly told Obama he reserves the right to move further into Ukraine.Smart diplomacy at work. Putin is surely quaking in his boots.