Putin: views "very close" with Ukraine president

Sep 03, 2014, 12:46 PM EDT
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at a news conference August 26, 2014 in Minsk, Belarus.
Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called on both sides to respect a ceasefire, adding that a political solution for the crisis in Ukraine is near.

Reuters reports:

Outlining what he said was a seven-step plan "to end the bloodshed", Putin suggested Kiev and the pro-Russian rebels could reach an agreement at a meeting of the international contact group on Ukraine on Friday in the Belarussian capital Minsk.

According to Michael Birnbaum and Annie Gowen of The Washington Post:

The apparent inching toward a resolution came as President Obama said in a speech in the Estonian capital, Tallinn, that NATO and the Baltic states “must continue to stand united against Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.” Charging that Putin has ignored opportunities to resolve the crisis in Ukraine diplomatically, Obama said that “Russia’s actions in Ukraine are weakening Russia,” and he added pointedly that “the door to NATO membership will remain open” to countries that meet the alliance’s standards.