Can diplomacy solve Ukraine crisis? US, Russia hold direct talks over coffee
Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha
Paris: As the diplomatic efforts to de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine gathers pace, the US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday held discussions on Ukraine in Paris.
The talks were held on the sidelines of an international meeting on Lebanon.
According to a US State Department official, Kerry and Lavrov held informal discussions along with their British, French and German counterparts over coffee after lunch at the French presidential palace, the AFP reported.
This was the first meeting between Russia`s FM Lavrov and US diplomat Kerry after the develpments in Ukraine have taken the world by surprise and concern.
The Crimean peninsula in Ukraine has seen the build-up of forces which President Vladimir Putin said, were not Russian slodiers, but pro-Moscow local forces of self defence.
Though, US has earlier claimed that Crimea was in full control of Russia, Moscow has denied such claims saying it has no control over the Black Sea Peninsula.
Russian leader Vladimir Putin on Tuesday tried to present a sturdy justification over his moves in Ukraine claiming that he had no intention to go to war.
However he asserted that Russia reserved the right to protect Russians in Ukraine by “all means” and it would be legitimate.
Reacting to Putin`s statement, US Secretary of State John Kerry who arrived in Kiev on Tuesday said that Moscow was trying to stitch up excuses to invade further than Crimea.
Kerry said that there were no signs that Russian-speakers in Ukraine were in any sort of danger or threat after Kiev saw new leaders taking up the reins.
Earlier speaking in Madrid, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, told a press conference that Russia will not allow bloodshed in Ukraine.
Lavrov in a meeting with EU ministers, also told foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton that a EU-brokered agreement signed on Feb 21 should be implemented for de-escalating the situation in Ukraine.