Following up last weekend’s official White House photo of President Obama talking on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the administration today released another phone photo, this one of a conversation with French President Francois Hollande. This one comes from Key Largo, Fla., where Obama is spending the weekend before returning to Washington to host a reception Monday for the 2012 and 2013 NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Champions before moving on to fundraising events Tuesday.
“The President welcomed the strong, unified stance of the United States and the European Union regarding Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine, including in the conclusions of the March 6 European Council,” the White House said of Obama’s calls with Hollande as well as British Prime Minister David Cameron and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. “The leaders reiterated their grave concern over Russia’s clear violation of international law and reaffirmed their support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
The grim news out of Ukraine today included Russian forces mining the Crimean border. Opposition forces also reported that Russian laid mines five meters from a major gas pipeline near Armiansk in Crimea. Gas engineers are not being allowed to enter the the site and are being kept out by gunmen, according to Euromaidan PR. “If, God forbid, a gas pipeline explodes in this place, the exclusion zone will become a devastated wasteland and additionally, most of the Crimea will be left without any gas,” said Serhiy Golovin, chairman of the board at the Ukrainian state gas company Chornomornaftogaz.
UPDATE: Obama spent the afternoon golfing at the Ocean Reed Club in Key Largo. His partners were Valerie Jarrett’s cousin Cyrus Walker, Jarrett’s boyfriend and sportscaster Ahmad Rashad, and former Miami Heat player Alonzo Mourning.