Obama consults German, French leaders on Ukraine
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has discussed slapping new penalties on Russia with the leaders of Germany and France.
Obama spoke by phone on Friday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (AHN’-geh-lah MEHR’-kuhl), and separately with French President Francois Hollande (frahn-SWAH’ oh-LAWND’).
The White House says all three leaders welcomed new Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s announcement of a unilateral ceasefire in its conflict with pro-Russian separatists.
The leaders also said Russia must stop pull back its troops from the Ukrainian border and work to persuade separatists to disarm. The United States is accusing Russia of providing separatists with tanks and heavy weaponry.
The White House says the leaders agreed that if Russia doesn’t take immediate steps to calm tensions in eastern Ukraine, the U.S. and Europe will levy further costs on Moscow.