President Obama is set to have a one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin next week at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
It’s not clear exactly when the two leaders would meet, but Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the encounter would happen Monday when Putin is scheduled to deliver remarks at the U.N.
The White House confirmed the meeting would take place, but did not specify when.
According to a senior administration official:
“Given the situations in Ukraine and Syria, despite our profound differences with Moscow, the President believes that it would be irresponsible not to test whether we can make progress through high-level engagement with the Russians. In particular, our European partners have underscored the importance of a unified message about the necessity of fully implementing the Minsk agreements. President Obama will take advantage of this meeting to discuss Ukraine, and he will be focused on ensuring Moscow lives up to the Minsk commitments. This will be the core message of this bilateral engagement.”
NPR White House correspondent Scott Horsley tells our Newscast unit:
“President Obama has had sharply limited diplomatic contact with the Russian president for more than a year, in an effort to isolate Putin, in protest of Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its military meddling in eastern Ukraine.
“While Ukraine is expected to be the focus of the meeting, the two leaders might also discuss the ongoing conflict in Syria, where Russia backs a leader who the U.S. insists must step down.”