Putin to Speak with Obama by Phone in Coming Days

By Dow Jones Business News, 

MOSCOW--Russian President Vladimir Putin will speak with U.S. President Barack Obama by telephone in the coming days as part of a burst of diplomacy focused on the crisis in Ukraine, a Kremlin adviser was quoted by Russian newswires as saying Friday.

"In the coming days a Putin-Obama call is planned, above all focused on the topic of Ukraine but, of course, touching on other current international problems, including Iraq and Syria," the adviser, Yuri Ushakov, was quoted as saying.

The U.S. and the European Union have threatened more sanctions if Russia doesn't act to stabilize the east of Ukraine. Kiev and U.S. officials say Russia has been sending irregular fighters and heavy weaponry across the border in recent weeks to support insurgents, who hold large swaths of Ukraine's easternmost regions. Russia denies this.

Mr. Ushakov said troops that have moved toward the Ukraine border in recent days are tasked with reinforcing border guards.

Mr. Putin will also speak about Ukraine with French President Fran├žois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in coming days, Mr. Ushakov said. Russia's president will meet in Vienna on Tuesday with the head of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Swiss President Didier Burkhalter, who was active in searching for a resolution to the Ukraine crisis in May.

Mr. Putin will also speak to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki Friday about the "rampant terrorism" there, Mr. Ushakov said.

Write to James Marson at james.marson@wsj.com

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