President Obama spoke today by phone with President Vladimir Putin of Russia. President Obama emphasized the importance of working towards a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Ukraine through full implementation of the Minsk agreements by all parties. The President underscored that the key next step is for the sides to reach agreement on the modalities of local elections in the Donbas region of Ukraine, which must meet Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe standards. The leaders discussed the urgent need to implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254 on Syria. Further, they noted the necessity of taking steps to foster productive discussions between representatives of the Syrian opposition and regime under United Nations auspices, principally by reducing violence and addressing the urgent humanitarian needs of the Syrian people, especially those living in besieged and hard to reach communities. Finally, they discussed the importance of a strong and united international response to North Korea’s nuclear test in defiance of Security Council resolutions.