Kerry: Russia Agrees to Seek Diplomatic Solution

Russian troops on Ukraine's border aren't helping, Kerry adds
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 30, 2014 6:31 PM CDT
Kerry: Russia Agrees to Seek Diplomatic Solution
John Kerry, left, shakes hands with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov before their meeting at the Russian ambassador's residence about the situation in Ukraine, in Paris, March 30, 2014.   (Jacquelyn Martin)

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. (More Ukraine stories.)

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