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Putin attempting to undermine European unity: Obama

photo by AP photo

US President Barack Obama speaks during his visit to Hanover, Germany on Monday.

By AFP, Washington
27th-Apr-2016       
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US President Barack Obama said 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 on Tuesday morning, Obama said Europe's migrant crisis is also a problem for the United States.
"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, an Islamist 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.
Another report adds: British support for staying in the European Union has fallen by two percentage points to 51 percent according to a poll, a decline that may suggest U.S. President Barack Obama's words in favor of UK membership had yet to have an impact.
Support for leaving the 28-member bloc in a referendum has increased by 2 percentage points to 43 percent in the past week, little changed from figures published on April 19, according to the ORB poll of 800 people for The Daily Telegraph newspaper on Tuesday.
Several agencies and David Cameron's advisers are polling voters almost continuously on their plans for a referendum on June 23 on EU membership, a vote that will determine the prime minister's future and that of the country in world affairs.
But some have cast doubt on the results of the research, after the polling industry suffered a blow to its credibility last year when it failed to predict the Conservative Party's outright victory in a general election.
Lynton Crosby, an election strategist who helped Cameron win last May's election, said the Telegraph's poll showed "not much has changed over the past week" despite Obama on Friday urging Britons to remain in the bloc.
"The effect of the president's visit may not yet be felt in the numbers as sometimes it takes a while for factors to wash through. Also, people may not take much notice of what an outsider has to say," he wrote in The Telegraph.
While on a visit to London, Obama said Britain would be at "the back of the queue" for a trade deal with the United States if it voted to leave the EU, a warning that sparked anger amongst those campaigning to leave the EU.
Crosby said the "In" campaign was at risk of "voter complacency"-almost three fifths of voters polled said they believed those campaigning to stay in the EU will win and may not then feel it necessary to turn out to vote.
"Who is leading at this stage may be indicative of what is yet to come, but the road ahead remains fraught," Crosby said.
"I wouldn't be hanging out the victory bunting just yet. The marathon has barely begun."

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