U.S. President Barack Obama says he does not think Russian President Vladimir Putin will change his course until the politics in Russia catch up to the damage being done by sanctions to the Russian economy.
Obama, speaking at a December 3 meeting in Washington with more than 100 top business executives, said that Putin's actions were "scaring" his neighbors and that Russia was completely isolated internationally.
But he said the really challenging part was that Putin's actions, such as annexing Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, are politically popular within Russia.
Obama told the CEOs that he had a "very productive" relationship with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev when Medvedev served as president from 2008 to 2012 even though Putin was "the power behind the throne."
Obama also said he was confident the U.S.-led coalition can push back Islamic State militants in Iraq but said Syria is more complex.