US-Russia relations: Obama to Russia: Get separatists to lay down arms and stop bullying Ukraine

15:40 Aug. 3, 2016

Obama to Russia: Get separatists to lay down arms and stop bullying Ukraine

President Barack Obama speak to reporters during a joint news conference with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Aug. 2, 2016. (AP Photo)

"We have deep disagreements on issues like Ukraine" US President says

US and Russia have got "a lot of differences on a whole bunch of issues", but Washington is focused on Ukraine, US President Barack Obama told journalists on August 2 at a joint presser with the Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong.

"I think that we've been able to try to stay focused on those areas where we still have a common interest, understanding that we have deep disagreements on issues like Ukraine, but perhaps, potentially, we have an interest in bringing an end to violence in Syria.  How do we balance those issues - that's pretty standard statecraft at this point with Russia," Obama said.

Read also Obama, Merkel insist on "rapid Minsk implementation"

He added that despite strained relationship the US is trying to get Russia to implement Minsk peace deal:

"[…]it's not going to stop us from still trying to pursue solutions so that we can, for example, implement the Minsk Agreement and get Russia and those separatists to lay down arms and stop bullying Ukraine," Obama reiterated.

The issue of US-Russia relations was brought up in the light of the recent hacking of the Democratic National Committee's emails widely blamed on Russia.

Read also US intelligence chief says Russia behind DNC hack in bid to influence elections

The US President said the FBI is still doing an investigation, but if Russia is really engaged in the attack it would not "wildly" alter the countries' "tough and difficult relationship." 

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