Monday, March 31, 2014

Ukraine crisis: US-Russia deadlock despite 'frank' talks

March 31 (BBC News Europe) US Secretary of State John Kerry has announced no breakthrough on Ukraine, following four hours of "frank" talks with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov. Mr Kerry said he told Mr Lavrov that the US still considered Russia's takeover of Ukraine's Crimea region to be "illegal and illegitimate". He said he had stressed that no decision on Ukraine's future could be made without Kiev's involvement. Earlier Mr Lavrov set out demands for a neutral and federal Ukraine. Mr Kerry told a news conference in Paris: "We will not accept a path forward where the legitimate government of Ukraine is not at the table. "This principle is clear: no decisions about Ukraine without Ukraine." He said he had also raised "strong concerns" about the presence of Russian troops on the Ukraine border, which he said created a climate of fear and intimidation. 

Pro-European activists held a rally in the southern Ukrainian city of Odessa on Sunday
Meanwhile pro-Russian demonstrators gathered at a World War Two museum in Donetsk