Moscow (AP) - The Russian president has defended the country's moves in Ukraine consistent with international law during a phone call with President Barack Obama.
A statement published on the Kremlin website early Friday said that during the call, Vladimir Putin condemned the newly formed Kiev government as the result of an "anti-constitutional coup" and said Russia was "unable to ignore" requests for protection from Ukraine's Russia-leaning east and south.
Putin stressed the importance of Russian-American relations, and said he hoped they would not become "a victim of disagreement" on certain issues. According to a White House statement issued late on Thursday, Obama demanded that the Russian president end the dispute diplomatically, by withdrawing Russian forces back to their base in Crimea and bringing international monitors into Ukraine.
The White House says President Barack Obama spoke with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe about the situation in Ukraine and both leaders agree that Russia's actions threaten international peace and security.
In the call late Thursday, the White House says that Obama and Abe spoke of the importance of preserving Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity.