Video: Obama, Putin had “informal” meeting at Normandy commemoration

posted at 10:41 am on June 6, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Actually, Vladimir Putin had a busy day at the D-Day commemoration on the beaches of Normandy. German Chancellor Angela Merkel collared Putin into a meeting with newly-elected Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and cajoled him over efforts to settle the violence on the border regions between Ukraine and Russia. That produced a call for a cease-fire from both men, which is a surprise implicit endorsement of Poroshenko’s election and status by Putin:

Russian President Vladimir Putin has met Ukrainian President-elect Petro Poroshenko for the first time since his election, at a D-Day event in France.

Russian officials said they called for a ceasefire and a quick end to the bloodshed in eastern Ukraine. …

The three leaders are said to have chatted for about 15 minutes, in between a photo for world leaders and a meal organised by French President Francois Hollande.

“During the brief conversation, both Putin and Poroshenko called for a quick end to the bloodshed in south-eastern Ukraine, and also to military activity by both sides”, said Kremlin aide Dmitry Peskov.

“The conversation took place on possible measures to de-escalate [the crisis], including how Moscow could recognise the election of Poroshenko,” a French official said.

“The details of a ceasefire will also be discussed in coming days.”

The White House downplayed the meeting between Obama and Putin as “an informal conversation”:

President Barack Obama and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin met Friday on the sidelines of D-Day anniversary events in France, according to the White House. …

The White House said Friday that Obama and Putin had had “an informal conversation – not a formal bilateral meeting” on the margins of a lunch attended by world leaders.

Obama sounded “stern” yesterday prior to the meeting, but left open the possibility of warming relations:

U.S. President Barack Obama had stern words for his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin over Russia’s actions in Ukraine, following a meeting Thursday of G7 leaders in Brussels, Belgium, at which Russia was excluded.

Putin “has a chance to get back into a lane of international law,” Obama said.

But for this to happen, he said, Putin must take steps over the coming weeks that include recognizing Ukraine’s new President-elect Petro Poroshenko, stopping the flow of weapons over the border into Ukraine and ceasing Russian support for pro-Russia separatists in Ukraine.

“We cannot simply allow drift,” Obama said, speaking alongside British Prime Minister David Cameron following bilateral talks.

“The mere fact that some of the Russian soldiers have moved back from the border and that Russia is now destabilizing Ukraine through surrogates, rather than overtly and explicitly, does not mean that we can afford three months, or four months, or six months, of continued violence and conflict in eastern Ukraine.”

Putin has talked about cease-fires before, mainly as a stalling device, without putting any pressure on his allies (or his own personnel, depending on your point of view) to actually cease their fire. With Ukraine’s successful election discrediting the armed insurrection, though, Putin’s string may be played out in the region, and eventually Moscow needs to get back to business with the rest of Europe. Putin came to the D-Day commemoration to see whether he could make inroads, but at least publicly, improved relations are still tied to an end to Russian interference in eastern Ukraine — although it now seems clear that the West has tacitly accepted the annexation of Crimea as a fait accompli.


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Obama was negotiating snowdens return

jaywemm on June 6, 2014 at 10:44 AM

German Chancellor Angela Merkel collared Putin into a meeting with newly-elected Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and cajoled him over efforts to settle the violence on the border regions between Ukraine and Russia.

Sounds like Angie’s got a bigger pair than Barry (there’s a shock).

I wonder if somebody brought up Barry’s Ahnold video. I’ll bet Vlad is still laughing.

formwiz on June 6, 2014 at 10:51 AM

“What more flexibility do you need from me, Val??”

Deano1952 on June 6, 2014 at 10:53 AM

It’s hard to see bruises on a black man…

Blake on June 6, 2014 at 10:54 AM

Obama was negotiating snowdens return

jaywemm on June 6, 2014 at 10:44 AM

There are Russians in Gitmo? /

Brat on June 6, 2014 at 10:56 AM

A doped-up gay man, and a world leader walk into an informal meeting …

Pork-Chop on June 6, 2014 at 10:57 AM

+1 deano

cmsinaz on June 6, 2014 at 10:57 AM

Dog Eater was “stern”….watch out world.

Bishop on June 6, 2014 at 10:59 AM

Regrettably, Obama had forgotten his red crayon, hence no red lines were drawn.

bobthm3 on June 6, 2014 at 11:03 AM

Dog Eater was “stern”….watch out world.

Bishop on June 6, 2014 at 10:59 AM

And by “stern” I assume you mean rear end.

Flange on June 6, 2014 at 11:05 AM

Man, Obama thoroughly whupped that russky’s arse.

everdiso on June 6, 2014 at 11:05 AM

Putin “has a chance to get back into a lane of international law,” Obama said.

What does this mean? Why is he so unable to say what he is apparently trying to say?

Try this:

Reagan: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” No ambiguity there.

Kennedy, on the Cuban missile crisis:

Acting, therefore, in the defense of our own security and of the entire Western Hemisphere, and under the authority entrusted to me by the Constitution as endorsed by the resolution of the Congress, I have directed that the following initial steps be taken immediately:

First: To halt this offensive build-up, a strict quarantine on all offensive military equipment under shipment to Cuba is being initiated. All ships of any kind bound for Cuba from whatever nation or port will, if found to contain cargoes of offensive weapons, be turned back: This quarantine will be extended, if needed, to other types of cargo and carriers. We are not at this time, however, denying the necessities of life as the Soviets attempted to do in their Berlin blockade of 1948.

Second: I have directed the continued and increased close surveillance of Cuba and its military build-up. The Foreign Ministers of the Organization of American States in their communiqu6 of October 3 rejected secrecy on such matters in this Hemisphere. Should these offensive military preparations continue, thus increasing the threat to the Hemisphere, further action will be justified. I have directed the Armed Forces to prepare for any eventualities; and I trust that in the interests of both the Cuban people and the Soviet technicians at the sites, the hazards to all concerned of continuing this threat will be recognized.

Third: It shall be the policy of this nation to regard any nuclear missile launched from Cuba against any nation in the Western Hemisphere as an attack by the Soviet Union on the United States, requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union.

Fourth: As a necessary military precaution I have reinforced our base at Guantanamo, evacuated today the dependents of our personnel there, and ordered additional military units to be on a standby alert basis.

Fifth: We are calling tonight for an immediate meeting of the Organ of Consultation, under the Organization of American States, to consider this threat to hemispheric security and to invoke articles six and eight of the Rio Treaty in support of all necessary action. The United Nations Charter allows for regional security arrangements-and the nations of this Hemisphere decided long ago against the military presence of outside powers. Our other allies around the world have also been alerted.

Sixth: Under the Charter of the United Nations, we are asking tonight that an emergency meeting of the Security Council be convoked without delay to take action against this latest Soviet threat to world peace. Our resolution will call for the prompt dismantling and withdrawal of all offensive weapons in Cuba, under the supervision of United Nations observers, before the quarantine can be lifted.

Seventh and finally: I call upon Chairman Khrushchev to halt and eliminate this clandestine, reckless, and provocative threat to world peace and to stable relations between our two nations. I call upon him further to abandon this course of world domination and to join in an historic effort to end the perilous arms race and transform the history of man. He has an opportunity now to move the world back from the abyss of destruction-by returning to his Government’s own words that it had no need to station missiles outside its own territory, and withdrawing these weapons from Cuba-by refraining from any action which will widen or deepen the present crisis-and then by participating in a search for peaceful and permanent solutions.

Imagine if Kennedy had simply said:

“Khrushchev has a chance to get back into a lane of international law”

We would probably have figured out what WWIII looked like.

BobMbx on June 6, 2014 at 11:07 AM

I remember when it was the American president, not the German chancellor who would do these things.

rbj on June 6, 2014 at 11:08 AM

I wonder if Putin mentioned O’Barry’s workout video?

Sven on June 6, 2014 at 11:10 AM

Sounds like Angie’s got a bigger pair than Barry (there’s a shock).

formwiz on June 6, 2014 at 10:51 AM

These are correctly referred to as “Thatchers”.

“Merckel has a set of Thatchers”.

BobMbx on June 6, 2014 at 11:12 AM

I wonder if he gave him a strongly worded letter? That will show him!

sandee on June 6, 2014 at 11:12 AM

Obama was negotiating snowdens return

jaywemm on June 6, 2014 at 10:44 AM

There are Russians in Gitmo? /

Brat on June 6, 2014 at 10:56 AM

No but he’s going to give back Alaska cause we stole from putins great great grandfather when we bought for a penny acre

jaywemm on June 6, 2014 at 11:15 AM

Probably went something like this:

O: Listen…
P: F*** you.

jedijson on June 6, 2014 at 11:17 AM

Putin came to the D-Day commemoration to see whether he could make inroads, but at least publicly, improved relations are still tied to an end to Russian interference in eastern Ukraine

Actually, improved relations are still tied to an end of American and European interference in Western Ukraine. The reason why Putin is backing off now is that he got most of what he wanted. Crimea was the main concern; anything else would have been a bonus.

It makes no sense to look at current relations with Russia through a cold war lens. Putin is not a communist internationalist interested in world revolution; he is a Russian nationalist. He is not the new Stalin, he is the new Ivan the Terrible. Putin’s ambitions are far narrower than those of the old Soviet regime, but arguably stronger and more concentrated.

All the pundits writing and talking about how Putin has blinked, and that he caved to sanctions and Western moral shaming are just shilling for Obama. Putin has Crimea, enjoys an 80 percent approval rating at home (compared to Obama’s 40-something), has just concluded a major economic reapproachment with China, and is filling the strategic void in the Middle East that the U.S. abandoned.

Some of this is bad and some of this is good. Russia, formerly a destabilizing force on the world scene, seems now to want stability, arguing, perhaps rightly, that the U.S. is now the chaotic factor. I’m not sure that it is in our national interest for Russia to be weak, aggrieved, and belligerent. Despite inevitable conflicts, there are huge areas where cooperation between the two nations is in the United States’ best interest, especially where radical terror is concerned. In that sense, inviting Putin to Normandy was an appropriately symbolic gesture.

Joseph K on June 6, 2014 at 11:21 AM

Whew! If looks could kill! Poroshenko looks like he wants to do exactly that to Uncle Vladimir.

NavyMustang on June 6, 2014 at 11:24 AM

Obama was negotiating snowdens return

jaywemm on June 6, 2014 at 10:44 AM

More likely negotiating to give Alaska back.

Happy Nomad on June 6, 2014 at 11:24 AM

Judging by Putin’s new flame being a champion gymnast, he values Obama’s flexibility. The problem is, we’re getting screwed instead of Obama.

Rix on June 6, 2014 at 11:24 AM

I saw the grass stains on the knees of Barack’s neatly creased pants after his ‘warm’ meeting with his handler. A real confidence builder right there.

bimmcorp on June 6, 2014 at 11:41 AM

With Ukraine’s successful election discrediting the armed insurrection, though…

Ukraine’s election was successful in the same sense that Syria’s will be.

David Blue on June 6, 2014 at 11:44 AM

German Chancellor Angela Merkel collared Putin into a meeting with newly-elected Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and cajoled him over efforts to settle the violence on the border regions between Ukraine and Russia.

Obviously, BHO was leading from behind!

Deafdog on June 6, 2014 at 11:45 AM

Did Obama leave the meeting in tears?

zoyclem on June 6, 2014 at 11:50 AM

Obama was negotiating snowdens return

jaywemm on June 6, 2014 at 10:44 AM

There are Russians in Gitmo? /

Brat on June 6, 2014 at 10:56 AM

Lolz! Flexibility and what. ; )

Bmore on June 6, 2014 at 11:52 AM

Ukraine, Russia political crisis
1m
White House: President Obama spoke to Russian President Putin about Ukraine crisis at D-Day events, urged Russia to work with Ukrainian government to reduce tensions – via @NBCNews
End of alert

canopfor on June 6, 2014 at 12:09 PM

The irony is that Normandy didn’t save Europe from the Germans, it saved Europe from the Russians. By 1944, Germany’s loss was inevitable. But every inch liberated by the US, Britain and Canada was another inch that the commies didn’t get. Normany was a battle to set us up and strengthen our opening position for the fight against Soviet communism.

A neo-stalinist KGB Colonel attending D-Day memorial services is almost funny given the context of history.

Alberta_Patriot on June 6, 2014 at 12:34 PM

I wonder if Putin mentioned O’Barry’s workout video?

Sven on June 6, 2014 at 11:10 AM

…can’t wait to see JugEars on his bike…without his shirt on…or shirtless…carrying his skeet gun!

KOOLAID2 on June 6, 2014 at 12:36 PM

Joseph K on June 6, 2014 at 11:21 AM

Thank you for your thoughts on this. I hadn’t looked at the situation from that perspective.

deepdiver on June 6, 2014 at 12:38 PM

A neo-stalinist KGB Colonel attending D-Day memorial services is almost funny given the context of history.

Alberta_Patriot on June 6, 2014 at 12:34 PM

You only say that because you are looking at history as a factual series of events rather than a whitewashed and revised series of personal perspectives in which the progressives and left are always the heroes except for a few outliers such as Stalin and Pol Pot who can be excused because their daddy’s didn’t hug them as children or something.

deepdiver on June 6, 2014 at 12:41 PM

Maybe Barry should try following American law before trying to get Putin to follow international law.

reaganaut on June 6, 2014 at 12:58 PM

A ceasefire would suit Putin nicely. The Donbass provinces have already seceded from Ukraine and declared their independence. The Ukrainian military offensive, such as it is, will soon be stopped with antiaircraft and antitank weapons currently being shipped over the border along with plenty of small arms, ammunition, advisors etc. all coming in private vehicles. If the Ukrainians commit more forces for a serious offensive to take back the area, Putin will wait until a few hundred civilians are killed then intervene with airborne troops, and Ukraine will lose big time.

Putin knows that the EU will do nothing and that Obama is a fool and a weakling. He can’t lose this game.

spiritof61 on June 6, 2014 at 1:05 PM

It suits them both to claim that they are doing something by meeting. “informal” means not to expect anything.

Don’t worry, nobody is expecting a result from this president.

virgo on June 7, 2014 at 11:31 AM