US, Russia Talks on Crimea Flop

'We have no common vision,' says Russia's foreign minister
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 14, 2014 12:34 PM CDT
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, left, and US Secretary of State John Kerry stand together before a meeting in London Friday.   (AP Photo/Brendan Smialowski, Pool)

(Newser) – John Kerry and his Russian counterpart have wrapped up a last-minute bid to try to defuse tensions ahead of this weekend's big vote in Crimea, and the results are ... not good. In the quote getting picked up everywhere, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov declared afterward that "we don’t have a common vision of the situation,” reports the Washington Post. Russia refused Kerry's request to cancel Sunday's referendum, in which Crimea is expected to vote in favor of leaving Ukraine and joining Russia. Kerry, meanwhile, reiterated that the international community doesn't consider the referendum valid and warned anew of "consequences" should Russia move to annex the territory and of "an even greater response" if Russian troops—now massed at the border—invaded Ukraine.

When asked whether Vladimir Putin would indeed annex Crimea after the vote, Lavrov said it was pointless to speculate before any voting took place. But he added that Russia "will respect the will of people of Crimea that will be expressed at the referendum." On the bright side, he said Russia had no plans to invade Ukraine. After the press conferences, the Guardian summed up that the "Ukraine crisis has entered a new and more dangerous phase." A CNN poll, meanwhile, finds that for the first time in more than a decade, most Americans (69%) see Russia as a threat to the US.

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