U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday after four hours of talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that Russia had reaffirmed its commitment to finding a diplomatic solution in Ukraine but had not agreed to move Russian troops from the Ukraine border.
"We both made suggestions as to how that will be achieved ... and I will return to Washington to consult with President Obama on his choices," Kerry said at a news conference in Paris. "We are trying to find a way to defuse this."
Kerry said Lavrov indicated Russia "wants to support" Ukraine in its move toward independence but said the massing of Russian troops has created "a climate of fear and intimidation."
"Is it smart at this moment in time to have that number of troops amassed on a border when you are sending a message that you want to de-escalate and move in the other direction?" Kerry said.FULL STORY
By Barbara Starr
The Pentagon plans to keep an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean longer than planned as a military presence to reassure NATO allies following Russia’s intervention in Crimea, CNN has learned.
The Obama administration is expected to announce the development involving the USS George H. W. Bush on Thursday.
By Elise Labott
Tensions between the United States and Russia over the crisis in Crimea have exploded into an open row as Russia rejects U.S. diplomatic efforts to solve the impasse.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Monday that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry postponed a face-to-face meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss American proposals, which Moscow has effectively rejected, on solving the crisis.
The meeting, which Russia said was supposed to happen Monday, would have marked the highest-level contact between the two countries since Russian troops took up positions in Crimea, and would have come ahead of Sunday's potentially explosive vote on whether Crimea should split from Ukraine and join Russia.FULL STORY
The United States will provide Ukraine $1 billion in loan guarantees to help insulate the Ukrainian economy from the effects of reduced energy subsidies from Russia, senior Obama administration officials said.
The loan guarantees will help Ukraine move forward with an assistance package from the International Monetary Fund, which is calling for the country to raise energy prices.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who landed Tuesday in Kiev to show American support for the fledgling Ukrainian government, will announce this diplomatic move and others in Ukraine. FULL POST
By Laura Koran
Syria carried out "egregious human rights violations" last year, according to a State Department assessment released on Thursday that also singled out abuses in Russia and the Ukraine.
The 2013 Human Rights Report, based on assessments from America's embassies abroad, reserved its strongest language for the Syrian government, which allegedly gassed its own people last August in an atrocity linked to the ongoing civil war.
"Hundreds were murdered in the dead of night when a disaster occurred at the hands of a dictator, who decided to infect the air of Damascus with poisonous gas," Secretary of State John Kerry said in presenting the report.
"And many more have been, unfortunately, confined to die under a barrage of barrel bombs, scud missiles, artillery and other conventional weapons," he said.