Vladimir Putin has spoken on the telephone to Barack Obama for the second time in six days, but the pair remain far apart over Ukraine.
However a Kremlin statement said that Russia’s President stressed in the call that relations between his country and the US are too important for global stability and security to suffer because of the crisis.
President Obama has ordered sanctions on those responsible for Moscow’s military intervention in Ukraine including bans on travel to the United States and freezing of their US assets.
He has also said that a proposed referendum for Crimea to join Russia would violate international law.
“Any discussion about the future of Ukraine must include the legitimate government of Ukraine,” Obama said. “In 2014, we are well beyond the days when borders can be redrawn over the heads of democratic leaders.”
But Putin now appears to have the upper hand after parliament in Ukraine’s southern Crimea region voted to join Russia and hold a referendum on the move on March 16.