News / Europe

Washington React: Kerry to Meet Lavrov on Ukraine

Secretary of State John Kerry testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 12, 2014.
Secretary of State John Kerry testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 12, 2014.
The United States is sending Secretary of State John Kerry to London for a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, part of the effort to end the crisis in Ukraine.
 
America's top diplomat said the face-to-face meeting will take place Friday and is just the latest in a series of conversations he and President Barack Obama have had with Russia officials.
 
"While we respect obviously that Russia has deep historical, cultural and other kinds of interest with respect to Ukraine and particularly Crimea, nothing justifies a military intervention that the world has witnessed," Kerry said.
 
Kerry said the U.S. and its European partners have made clear to Moscow there are many ways to address its concerns without further escalation.  And he said the U.S. does not believe it would serve anyone's interests to isolate Russia.
 
Still, he issued a warning.
 
"We will do what we have to do if Russia cannot find a way to make the right choices here," he said.
 
Kerry's comments come on the day President Barack Obama meets with Ukraine's interim prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, at the White House.  The secretary's trip comes ahead of a planned referendum Sunday in Crimea on whether to join Russia. 
 
Analysts say the meeting will not stop the referendum, but warn of the urgency of stopping Russia from moving on to other Russian-populated regions of the former Soviet Union. 
 
Russia has made it clear that a flurry of diplomatic activity ahead of the Sunday referendum will have little effect on its plans to take control of the Crimean region.  Washington-based political analyst Peter Eltsov said that no matter what official name it will assume, Crimea is lost to Ukraine. He added Ukraine has to fight to prevent any Russian attempt to move further.
 
"It's the biggest fear of the new Ukrainian government and it is quite likely - depending of course on the political situation - that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin will try to go to certain parts of eastern Ukraine.  We need to remember that there is no direct by-land connection between Russia and the Crimean peninsula," Eltsov said.
 
Stephen Blank, an analyst with the American Foreign Policy Council, agreed. He also placed blame on the European Union for a lax response to Russia's move to take over the strategic peninsula. 
 
"There have been no real organized economic sanctions on Russia; there have been no systematic strategic military actions to strengthen Ukraine’s ability to defend itself; and if I were Mr. Putin I would think I’ve gotten away with it.  I don’t think he will in the end, but I think up till now there has been too little action, and whatever action there has been, has been uncoordinated," Blank said.
 
VOA’s Zlatica Hoke contributed to this report.

Jeff Seldin

Jeff works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters covering a wide variety of subjects, from the nature of the growing terror threat in Northern Africa to China’s crackdown on Tibet and the struggle over immigration reform in the United States. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs