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Obama briefly meets Putin while in Peru to talk Ukraine, Aleppo

By Andrew V. Pestano
Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Barack Obama, seen here in New York City during a bilateral meeting in 2015, met on Sunday in Lima, Peru, during the 2016 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. It was the first time the leaders had spoke since Donald Trump became the U.S. president-elect. Obama said the leaders briefly discussed the conflict in Ukraine and the crisis in Aleppo, Syria. File Pool Photo by Chip Somodevilla/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/42ddc139e90ebe9d87353c4e6cd32cda/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Barack Obama, seen here in New York City during a bilateral meeting in 2015, met on Sunday in Lima, Peru, during the 2016 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. It was the first time the leaders had spoke since Donald Trump became the U.S. president-elect. Obama said the leaders briefly discussed the conflict in Ukraine and the crisis in Aleppo, Syria. File Pool Photo by Chip Somodevilla/UPI | License Photo

LIMA, Nov. 21 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama briefly met with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Lima, Peru, to talk about Ukraine and Aleppo.

The leaders had not spoken since after the Nov. 8 U.S. presidential election. Obama and Putin spoke prior to the election after the United States formally accused the Russian government of committing cyberattacks in efforts to influence the outcome of the election in favor of President-elect Donald Trump.

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Obama said the Sunday meeting was a "candid and courteous" discussion in which he urged Putin to work with the United States and Europe to resolve the conflict in Ukraine, adding that he told Putin the goal is to "see if we can get that done before my term is up."

Obama also said he told Putin he is deeply "concerned about the bloodshed and chaos" in Aleppo, Syria, where the regime of Russian ally Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is accused of carrying out bombings that have killed civilian populations.

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Putin held a brief question-and-answer session on Sunday in which he discussed the U.S. election.

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Putin said his government would have to wait and see if Trump's White House policies would match up with his presidential campaign rhetoric. Putin said Trump confirmed he wished to improve U.S. relations with Russia.

"The president-elect confirmed he is willing to normalize Russian-American relations. I told him the same," Putin said, adding that no concrete meeting between Trump and himself, or Russian and U.S. representatives, has been arranged.

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Putin said he invited Obama to Russia.

"We acknowledged that despite the fact that our dialogue was not easy -- if truth be told, it was difficult to work with each other -- but both President Obama and I noted that we have always respected the positions of one another, as well as each other [personally]," Putin said. "I thanked him for all the years of mutual work and said, that if he finds it possible or has the desire to do so, we will be glad to welcome him in Russia any time."

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