WASHINGTON DC: US President Barack Obama said Monday that his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin is trying to undermine European unity, which he sees as a threat.
Speaking to CBS News in an interview set to air Tuesday morning, Obama said Europe's migrant crisis is also a problem for the United States.
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"But more importantly, more strategically, is the strain it's putting on Europe's politics, the way that it advances far-right nationalism, the degree to which it is encouraging a break-up of European unity, that in some cases, is being exploited by somebody like Mr. Putin," he said.
Putin sees Nato, the European Union and transatlantic unity as a threat, Obama added.
"Now, I think he's mistaken about that," he said. "I've indicated to him that, in fact, a strong, unified Europe working with a strong, outward-looking Russia, that's the right recipe."
"So far, he has not been entirely persuaded."
Obama was speaking at the end of a trip to the Middle East and Europe, where he urged European leaders to show greater unity in the face of lingering economic crisis, a terror threat and the huge flow of migrants from the Middle East and elsewhere.
He also urged Britain not to vote to leave the European Union in a referendum in June.