(USA Today) Expect a phone call between President Obama and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in the days ahead.
Russian news services have quoted Kremlin adviser Yuri Ushakov as saying that "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."
Obama has criticized Putin for Russian activity in neighboring Ukraine, including annexation of the Crimea region. The American president has urged the Russian leader to accept a peace plan put forth by new Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko, and to help end Russian separatist violence in southern and eastern Ukraine.
The United States also wants Russian diplomatic help in quelling the violence in Iraq and Syria.
Obama may be warming up for his Putin conversation by talking first with U.S. allies.
On Friday, Obama spoke separately with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande.
"The leaders welcomed President Poroshenko's announcement of a unilateral cease-fire and re-emphasized the need for Russia to pull back its destabilizing presence of military forces on the border of Ukraine, stop the flow of weapons and militants across the border, and exercise its influence among armed separatists to lay down their weapons and renounce violence," said a White House statement.
The leaders also discussed "the situation in Iraq" and the threat posed by Sunni insurgents, the White House said.