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Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Barack Obama held a brief phone chat on Friday, in which they discussed maybe, possibly starting to deal with this whole Ukraine thing. 

According to the readout of the phone call:

President Putin called President Obama today to discuss the U.S. proposal for a diplomatic resolution to the crisis in Ukraine, which Secretary Kerry had again presented to Foreign Minister Lavrov at the meeting at the Hague earlier this week, and which we developed following U.S. consultations with our Ukrainian and European partners. 

The diplomatic resolution in question was reportedly introduced by Kerry to Lavrov earlier this week, when the two leaders met to discuss Crimea during a nuclear conference in The Hague. According to the New York Times, officials didn't disclose details of the deal, but that Obama wants Russia to pull troops out of Crimea and agreeing to back off the rest of Ukraine. 

According to the readout, Obama wants Putin's response to this proposal in writing before the two plan to meet. Which means, as far as Obama is concerned, that this is the very, very beginning of the diplomatic process. 

Russia took a slightly different view on how the conversation unfolded. According to the readout posted on the Kremlin's website: 

Vladimir Putin drew Barack Obama’s attention to continued rampage of extremists who are committing acts of intimidation towards peaceful residents, government authorities and law enforcement agencies in various regions and in Kiev with impunity. In light of this, the President of Russia suggested examining possible steps the global community can take to help stabilize the situation. The two presidents agreed that specific parameters for this joint work will be discussed by the Russian and U.S. foreign ministers in the near future. 

So it looks like so far, the only thing they've agreed on is that they need to agree on something. Eventually.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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