The U.S. welcomed the moves — along with Putin agreeing to meet Poroshenko at all — as a positive step that could potentially lead to de-escalation of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. A senior White House official said President Obama was going home "more optimistic" about a resolution after hearing of the envoy and talking with Putin Friday. However, the administration warned more steps need to be taken.
"We are encouraged that President Putin spoke with President-elect Poroshenko in Normandy today and that Russia is returning its Ambassador to Ukraine for the inauguration this weekend. But clearly much more needs to be done going forward," Marie Harf, the State Department's deputy communications director, told Business Insider.