Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov talked for four hours in Paris about Russia and Ukraine, but nothing was resolved. They could not come to any agreement concerning Ukraine and Russia.
America’s main concern are the Russian troops on Ukraine’s east border. Sources have said the troops are between 30,000-100,000, and anonymous sources told Fox News a Russian invasion could happen at any time. Russia said the troops are there for military exercises, but the West does not believe them. Even if it was true, Kerry does not think it should happen right now.
“The Russian troop buildup is creating a climate of fear and intimidation in Ukraine,” Kerry told reporters at the home of the U.S. ambassador to France after the meeting, which was held at the Russian ambassador’s residence and included a working dinner. “It certainly does not create the climate that we need for dialogue.”
“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 pushed Lavrov to pull back more troops, but Lavrov only promised to show the proposals to Moscow.
The men agreed the US and Russia must “work with the Ukrainian government to improve rights for Russian-speaking Ukrainians.” As of Sunday evening there has not been a reaction from Kiev on this agreement. Moscow used the ethnic Russians in Crimea to justify annexing the peninsula from Ukraine. The ambassador to Latvia raised eyebrows when he said Moscow was ready to give Russian citizenship to ethnic Russians in the country. A Russian diplomat caused more problems when he told the United Nations that Moscow is concerned with the way Russian-speakers are treated in Estonia.
Lavrov told Russian media, “Moscow wanted greater autonomy for southern and eastern parts of Ukraine where many ethnic Russians live.” He stressed that Ukraine cannot work as a “unified state” and should be a federation. Kerry immediately shot down this idea since Ukraine was not represented at the meeting.
This is the first time Russia agreed to talk to Ukraine. The West encouraged talks between Russia and Ukraine since February 22, but every time Moscow said no talks would happen until a real leader emerges in Kiev.