Kerry to Meet Russian Counterpart in Effort to Step Up Diplomacy on Ukraine Crisis

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
March 29 2014 5:42 PM

John Kerry to Meet Russian Counterpart in Effort to Step Up Diplomacy on Ukraine Crisis

172110852-secretary-of-state-john-kerry-gestures-towards-russian
Secretary of State John Kerry gestures towards Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as he deflects a question from a reporter in Brunei on July 2, 2013

Photo by JACQUELYN MARTIN/AFP/Getty Images

Secretary of State John Kerry turned his plane around. Kerry was on his way back to the United States after a week of traveling the Middle East when he changed course at a refueling stop to head to Paris in order to meet with his Russian counterpart on Sunday, reports the Associated Press. On Friday, President Barack Obama and Russia’s Vladimir Putin decided their foreign ministers should meet to discuss a possible diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis. And it seems that when Kerry spoke with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the flight home, they both decided not to wait.

The meeting will come two days before NATO foreign ministers are scheduled to gather Tuesday and Wednesday in Brussels, when Russia and Crimea are likely to be amont the top items on the agenda, notes the Washington Post. For now, Washington seems to have recognized the status of Crimea is not going to change and is focusing its efforts at making sure that Russia will not try to expand its incursion into Ukraine. In what appeared to be an effort to ease concern, Lavrov went on TV Saturday to emphasize Russia does not have territorial ambitions. "We have absolutely no intention of—or interest in—crossing Ukraine's borders," Lavrov said, according to Reuters.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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