Obama and Putin Discussed Malaysia Plane, White House Says

White House spokesman Josh Earnest confirms a conversation between the two leaders.
4:25 | 07/17/14

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Transcript for Obama and Putin Discussed Malaysia Plane, White House Says
You have any information comments that passenger airplane that was shot down in Ukraine. I can tell you that we're aware of reports. The downed passenger jet near the Russia Ukraine border the president been briefed on the report about the president has directed his team to be in close touch with senior Ukrainian and -- and on this matter. But. I'm not an position at this point to confirm any of the details -- included in this report the president that could be. Updated over the course of the and in the what do you know what whether -- plane was shot down or where or how it was shot down anything like. I'm not an admission to confirm that there are number. -- reports speculating about the possible cause I'm not -- a position to confirm. I think he's going on under the plane down. I can confirm that we've seen those reports but I'm not in the position to confirming -- -- display and president -- any of that happening. US allies including Russia. About these report. Well I can't tell you that earlier this morning the president did have a phone call with president. The topic -- that phone call one. He was obviously to discuss. The sanctions regime. That the president and his team and European leaders announced yesterday. And that call was. Was placed at the request. Of Moscow. And you with an opportunity for the president to make clear once again. The that would be important principle at stake here at stake here. Josh -- white house press secure those go to Jon Karl or correspondent. At the White House he is being very careful there but -- the president spoke not only to the Russian president Vladimir Putin but also to Ukrainian officials. That's right and continuing to be in close contact with Ukrainian officials now the president Josh Earnest -- shortly after that. Did clarify did they did in fact talk to two gentlemen. President -- President Obama did talk about the believe the Malaysian plane going down the President Putin brought that off. -- for what the president's doing right now he is going on his schedule as -- he is in Delaware in fact George. Right now the president is at a place called the charcoal pit a -- barbecue place site in Delaware. Meeting with a meeting with citizens and they're going on his schedule. So all the while they're saying the president is asked to be regularly updated on this -- the national security team. It is on top of this and is in touch -- Ukrainian officials and is actively already beginning to investigate this the president's schedule is going on -- It's -- no no changes yet in the in the president's schedule perhaps that would change if there were some confirmation that this was indeed. Indeed shot down Jon Cohen of course this comes at such a tense time. Between the United States in Russia over the situation in Ukraine but in many other foreign policy front as well. That's right and the move that was announced by the president yesterday. Is the third time that the Obama administration is opposed imposed US sanctions on Russia and by far the most sweeping. Designed to really inflicted some -- the Russian economy. These are sanctions -- go right to the heart of that economy. Two of the largest energy companies in Russia two of the largest banks several of the largest defense companies in Russia. All now facing stiff US sanctions where they threat to the United States could escalate even further and imposed sanctions not just on company's -- whole sectors. Of the US economy so yes a very tense time with the US Russian relations obviously the biggest flash point. Is the conflict in Ukraine. But the US and Russia also not -- -- -- in the situation with Syria. Prudent and and Obama have gone back and forth on that. That the Russians the strongest supporter. For the -- the Asad regime in Syria which of course of president Obama's said that -- -- is a very. Very tense time in in US Russian relations but you can you as you pointed out earlier George now -- a major focus. For the administration is to make sure that what ever happened here. Doesn't lead to a further escalation to try to investigate first and then figure out what the appropriate resources like Josh Harris is being -- -- right there we.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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