- The Washington Times - Friday, February 21, 2014

President Obama spoke with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, on Friday afternoon to discuss the violence in Ukraine and the recent deal to begin de-escalating the situation there.

“The fact of the matter is, it is in Russia’s interest for the violence to end in Ukraine, as it is in the interest of the United States and our European friends and, most importantly, the Ukrainian people,” White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters Friday. “We welcome the cessation of violence and we welcome the agreements that have been reached.”

Mr. Carney promised more details on the Obama-Putin phone call later in the day.

The White House on Friday also endorsed a deal between the Ukrainian government and opposition leaders. The pact aims to put an end to the ongoing violence in the streets, bring about constitutional change, form a coalition government and provide for early elections.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and opposition forces signed the deal earlier Friday after a week of violence that left scores of citizens and security officers.

The U.S. repeatedly has called for an end to the violence.

SEE ALSO: White House praises Ukraine’s new deal signed between Yanukovych, opposition leaders

Mr. Carney also again denied that there’s any kind of global “chess game” being played by Russia and the U.S. with respect to Ukraine, saying Mr. Obama’s sole interest is that the Ukrainian people have the chance to decide their own future.

“The president is correct when he says this is not about the U.S. and Russia, or the West and Russia. This is about the Ukrainian people and their right to choose their own destiny,” Mr. Carney said.

• Ben Wolfgang can be reached at bwolfgang@washingtontimes.com.

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