Obama defends prisoner exchange, says Putin has choice - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Obama defends prisoner exchange, says Putin has choice

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President Obama and Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski address the media on Tuesday. (Source: Host TV/CNN) President Obama and Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski address the media on Tuesday. (Source: Host TV/CNN)

WARSAW, POLAND (Host TV/CNN) - President Barack Obama had a direct message for Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, and he addressed criticism over the prisoner exchange that secured the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

"Mr. Putin has a choice to make," Obama said.

With tensions still high in Ukraine, Obama arrived in Poland early on Tuesday and spoke of his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

"We are going to be prepared for any contingencies that come up if Mr. Putin continues to pursue strategies that destabilize its neighbors," Obama said.

The president's comments come during the first stop of his three-country European tour.

One of the president's goals is to ease tensions over Russia's recent annexation of Crimea, a region in Ukraine.

He called on Putin to continue pulling back Russian troops from the Ukraine border.

"I think it is possible for us to try to rebuild some of the trust that has been shattered," Obama said.

Obama also faced questions over the exchange of five Taliban prisoners for Bergdahl.

He was held prisoner in Afghanistan for nearly five years.

Some Republicans are blasting the move, arguing it has made Americans less safe.

"If the past proves true, they'll be back in the battlefield putting the lives of Americans in danger in the future, and that's what most of us find incomprehensible," said U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-AZ.

The president acknowledged that risk.

"Is there the possibility of some of them trying to return to activities that are detrimental to us? Absolutely," he said.

But he argued contingencies are in place.

"I wouldn't be doing it if I thought it was contrary to American national security," he said.

Copyright 2014 Host TV via CNN. All rights reserved.

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