July 4 Call to Obama: Putin Encourages American Tolerance Toward Moscow

AFP PHOTO / The White House / Pete Souza
AFP PHOTO / The White House / Pete Souza
Washington DC

Russian President Vladimir Putin reached out to President Barack Obama once again to wish him a Happy Independence Day, but also to ask for more dialogue. Russia and American relations soured greatly this past year since Moscow invaded Ukraine.

“The Russian president noted that despite the differences between the two countries, Russian-American relations remain the most important factor of international stability and security,” stated the Kremlin.

Putin called President Obama at the end of June and discussed Iran, the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) in Syria, and violence in Ukraine. Putin appeared to prefer to concentrate on Iran and Syria, but Obama pushed the discussion towards Ukraine. Moscow invaded Ukraine in mid-March 2014 and annexed the Crimean peninsula. This call, though, reportedly did not mention any of those topics.

“Vladimir Putin expressed confidence that Russia and the USA can find solutions to the most complicated international issues and efficiently resist global threats and challenges as they base their dialogue on principles of equality and respect of each other’s interests,” continued the Kremlin.

After Russia violated Ukraine’s sovereignty, the West placed numerous sanctions against Moscow’s financial, energy, and military sectors. Igor Sechin is the biggest name on the list. He is known as Putin’s right-hand man and the CEO of Rosneft, Russia’s largest petroleum company. Rosneft owns many lucrative contracts with BP and ExxonMobil.

The 16-month old war is still occurring in the east with over 6,000 dead. Russia and Ukraine signed peace agreements in September 2014 and February 2015 in Minsk, Belarus. Both times, Russian soldiers and pro-Russian rebels broke the agreements almost as soon as the countries signed the papers. The European Union recently extended the sanctions until January 31, 2016, since Moscow fails to comply with the Minsk agreement.