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Obama And Putin Discuss Ukraine Crisis

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Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a government meeting focused on economic and social issues in the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, June 11, 2014. Ukraine on Wednesday rejected Russia’s offer of a discount for gas shipments, which President Vladimir Putin touted as a “partnership deal.” (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, Presidential Press Service) | ASSOCIATED PRESS

DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) — The Kremlin says President Vladimir Putin has spoken over the phone with President Barack Obama, urging direct talks between warring parties in Ukraine.

The Kremlin said Putin underlined in Monday's conversation that in order to normalize the situation in eastern Ukraine it's necessary to "effectively end fighting and start direct talks between the conflicting parties."

Putin has welcomed Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's declaration of a cease-fire in eastern Ukraine, but added it can only be viable if the Ukrainian government sits down for talks with insurgents, who have declared their border regions independent and fought government troops for two months.