President Obama spoke today by phone with President Vladimir Putin of Russia to discuss progress on the implementation of the nationwide Cessation of Hostilities between the Syrian regime and its allies on the one hand and the armed opposition on the other. They discussed President Putin’s announcement today of a partial withdrawal of Russian forces from Syria and next steps required to fully implement the cessation of hostilities with the goal of advancing the political negotiations on resolution of the conflict. President Obama welcomed the much-needed reduction in violence since the beginning of the cessation, but stressed that continuing offensive actions by Syrian regime forces risk undermining both the Cessation of Hostilities and the UN-led political process. The President also noted some progress on humanitarian assistance efforts in Syria but emphasized the need for regime forces to allow unimpeded access for humanitarian assistance delivery to the agreed-upon locations, notably Daraya. The President underscored that a political transition is required to end the violence in Syria.
On Ukraine, President Obama emphasized the need for combined Russian-separatist forces to implement the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine and to provide monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) with unfettered access to separatist-controlled areas, including the Russia-Ukraine border.