After seeing Obama’s sanctions take a bite out of the Russian economy, Putin blinked and called the president today with a settlement proposal to end the crisis in Ukraine.
According to a readout of the call provided by the White House:
President Putin called President Obama today to discuss the U.S. proposal for a diplomatic resolution to the crisis in Ukraine, which Secretary Kerry had again presented to Foreign Minister Lavrov at the meeting at the Hague earlier this week, and which we developed following U.S. consultations with our Ukrainian and European partners. President Obama suggested that Russia put a concrete response in writing and the presidents agreed that Kerry and Lavrov would meet to discuss next steps.
President Obama noted that the Ukrainian government continues to take a restrained and de-escalatory approach to the crisis and is moving ahead with constitutional reform and democratic elections, and urged Russia to support this process and avoid further provocations, including the buildup of forces on its border with Ukraine.
President Obama underscored to President Putin that the United States continues to support a diplomatic path in close consultation with the Government of Ukraine and in support of the Ukrainian people with the aim of de-escalation of the crisis. President Obama made clear that this remains possible only if Russia pulls back its troops and does not take any steps to further violate Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. President Obama reiterated that the United States has strongly opposed the actions that Russia has already taken to violate Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Bloomberg reported that the sanctions are pushing Russia’s economy towards a recession and that current sanctions will already hurt Russia’s economic growth for two quarters. Experts also suggest that the energy sector of the Russian economy could take a big hit if the sanctions are expanded.
All of the Republicans who suggested that sanctions have been a pointless failure are wrong. The sanctions are doing what they are supposed to do. Putin is coming to the table, and he suggesting that he is ready to solve this crisis diplomatically.
President Obama hasn’t needed troops or to threaten militarily. His administration has clearly targeted Putin and the oligarchs that control the Russian economy. Republicans have been like fanboys with their praise of Putin’s strength, but it turns out their new hero has been being brought to his knees by the intelligent and determined foreign policy of Barack Obama.