President Obama tackled what was no doubt one of the more daunting items on his to-do list Tuesday when he called up his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, and presented his take on what Putin should do about Ukraine.

With just a day to go before Putin was set to meet in Minsk, Belarus, with European heads of state, Obama gestured at the potential consequences of Russia’s involvement in the conflict in Ukraine, as CNN reported:

The White House said Obama underscored to Russian President Vladimir Putin in a phone call “the importance of … seizing the opportunity presented by the ongoing discussions between Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine to reach a peaceful resolution” to the violence in Eastern Ukraine.

… “If Russia continues its aggressive actions in Ukraine, including by sending troops, weapons and financing to support the separatists, the costs for Russia will rise,” Obama told Putin, according to the White House.

For the moment, Obama has heeded his European allies’ requests by shelving talk of American military aid or action in Ukraine, despite urging to the contrary by Congress.

–Posted by Kasia Anderson

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