Lavrov, Kerry speak by phone on Ukraine measures: Moscow

11th March 2014, Comments 0 comments

Russia's top diplomat Sergei Lavrov and United States Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday spoke by telephone on proposals to bring calm to Ukraine, the Russian foreign ministry said.

"The foreign affairs chiefs exchanged opinions on concrete proposals from Russia and the US to ensure civil peace and harmony in this country," the ministry said in a statement, adding that they had agreed to continue consultations.

Russia stressed the need to consider the interests of all Ukrainians and also for "respect of the rights of the citizens of Crimea to independently decide on their fate according to the norms of international law."

Lavrov told President Vladimir Putin on Monday in a rare televised exchange between the two men that Kerry had snubbed an invitation to attend talks in Moscow that day.

Lavrov also complained to Putin that Washington's take on Ukraine "does not quite agree with us" because it described the situation in terms of a conflict between Russia and Ukraine, while Russia says that Ukraine's new authorities came to power through a coup.

US officials hit back that the time was not right for Kerry to visit Moscow as there was no sign that Putin was prepared to negotiate, or that Lavrov was authorised to lead any talks.

Kerry and Lavrov met for talks on Ukraine in Paris and Rome last week.

© 2014 AFP

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