NO UKRAINE ACCORD IN US-RUSSIA TALKS

14.03.14


BBC.  Russia and the US have "no common vision" on the crisis in Ukraine, Russia's foreign minister has said after talks with his US counterpart.

However Sergei Lavrov added that his meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry had been "constructive".

Mr Kerry said the US was "deeply concerned" about Russian troop deployments on Ukraine's eastern border and in Crimea.

The two foreign ministers held six hours of talks in London.

Mr Lavrov told reporters that Russia had no plans to invade south-eastern Ukraine.

Russia would "respect the will of the people of Crimea", he said, ahead of Sunday's referendum there.

Crimeans are to vote on whether to leave Ukraine and become part of the Russian Federation.

'Consequences'

Mr Kerry said that the US had not changed its position on the "illegitimate" referendum and would not recognise its outcome.

However, he said his Russian counterpart had made it clear that President Vladimir Putin was not prepared to make any decision until after the vote.

The Secretary of State said that he had told Mr Lavrov that there would be consequences if Russia "does not find a way to change course".

Russia's military intervention in the Crimean peninsula - part of Russia until 1954 and host to its Black Sea fleet - followed the fall of Ukraine's pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovych on 22 February.

Moscow has not recognised the interim government that took over in Kiev following Mr Yanukovych's departure.

The US and the European Union have said that Sunday's vote in Crimea violates international law and the Ukrainian constitution, and are planning to impose sanctions against Russian officials if the crisis does not ease.

President Barack Obama also reiterated on Friday that there would be "consequences" if Ukraine's "sovereignty continues to be violated".

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