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Obama, Putin lock horns in 90-minute telephone talks

Updated March. 03, 2014 03:20

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As the U.S. and Russia are in head-on collision over the latter’s military intervention in Ukraine`s Autonomous Republic of Crimea, tension is escalating into global conflict.

The White House said U.S. President Barack Obama held 90-minute telephone talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday, and demanded Moscow to withdraw Russian troops stationed in the Crimea Peninsula. Earlier on Friday, Obama also urged Russia to respect Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty.

Obama strongly warned Putin that “If Moscow rejects the request, it will negatively affect Russia’s international stature.” But Putin countered it by saying, “Russia has the right to protect Russia’s interests within the Crimea Peninsula and safety of ethnic Russians living there.”

Despite Washington’s warnings to Moscow to “withdraw from the Crimea Peninsula,” President Putin has been increasing the intensity of Russia’s military intervention. He also acquired the Russian parliament’s approval to use military forces at the pretext that “the lives of ethnic Russian residents and Russian troops within the Crimea Peninsula are under threat.” The Russian Upper House called an emergency meeting on Saturday and unanimously approved the measure. Accordingly, Russia can now deploy its military troops not only to the Crimea Peninsula but also to entire Ukraine in the event of emergency. Russia moved 6,000-strong troops to the Crimea Peninsula on the day in addition to its key Black Sea Fleet stationed on the peninsula.

The West, including the U.S., has started taking measures to counter Russia’s move. The White House said it will boycott a preparatory meeting for the G8 summit that will take place in Russia in June. It also warned that “if Russia continues to violate international law, the nation will become isolated politically and economically.” The U.N. Security Council and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization also held emergency meetings and urged Russia to withdraw troops from Ukraine.