John Kerry said today the United States and Russia agree on the need for a diplomatic solution for Ukraine, which would have to be at the table for negotiations. He also said the Russian troop buildup along the border is creating a climate of fear and intimidation in Ukraine, even though the troops are still on Russian soil. "The question is not one of right or legality," he said. "The question is one of strategic appropriateness and whether it's smart at this moment of time to have troops massed on the border."
Kerry said Ukraine must make the decision about a Russian proposal of federalization of Ukraine. "It is not up to us to make any decision or agreement regarding federalization. It is up to Ukrainians." Kerry made the comments after a lengthy meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the residence of the Russian ambassador to France. At a separate briefing, Lavrov said that he and Kerry discussed the possibility of a federated Ukrainian state at "very, very constructive" talks. He said he and Kerry agreed to work with the Ukrainian government to improve rights for Russian-speaking Ukrainians and disarming "irregular forces and provocateurs." Click to read about Lavrov's earlier remarks, or Vladimir Putin's phone call to President Obama.