Putin Urges Trump to Show Restraint Toward North Korea as Tensions Mount

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Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a news conference in Sochi, Russia, May 2, 2017.
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a news conference in Sochi, Russia, May 2, 2017.Credit: POOL/REUTERS

Russian President Vladimir Putin called on U.S. President Donald Trump to show restraint toward North Korea in a phone call on Tuesday amid heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula, the White House said.

The phone call came after North Korea accused the U.S. of pushing the Korean peninsula to the brink of nuclear war after a pair of strategic U.S. bombers flew over the area in a training drill with the South Korean air force.

The White House said in a statement that the two leaders discussed “how best to resolve the very dangerous situation in North Korea” and talked about the North’s nuclear program and recent missile tests.

Trump and Putin also discussed the conflict in Syria and working together against Islamic militants throughout the Middle East in their first phone call since U.S. airstrikes in Syria strained U.S.-Russian relations in April. 

"President Trump and President Putin agreed that the suffering in Syria has gone on for far too long and that all parties must do all they can to end the violence," the White House said. "The conversation was a very good one, and included the discussion of safe, or de-escalation, zones to achieve lasting peace for humanitarian and many other reasons," the statement read.

Trump's decision to launch 59 cruise missiles against a Syrian airfield on April 4 in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack angered the Russians and led to some bitter exchanges between the two governments. 

The White House statement said Washington will send a representative to Syrian ceasefire talks in Astana, Kazakhstan, on Wednesday and Thursday. 

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