News / Europe

In Paris, a Diplomatic Push for Ukraine Solution

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry walks into his vehicle on arrival in Paris, March 29, 2014.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry walks into his vehicle on arrival in Paris, March 29, 2014.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are scheduled to meet in Paris Sunday as Washington and Moscow work toward a political solution to the crisis in Ukraine.

Kerry and Lavrov will meet at the residence of the Russian ambassador to follow up on a late Friday telephone conversation between Russian President Vladmir Putin and U.S. President Barack Obama about the need for a diplomatic settlement.

The White House says Obama told Putin that Russia must pull back troops from the Ukrainian border and not move deeper into Ukraine. The Kremlin says Putin is suggesting "possible steps the global community can take to help stabilize the situation."

In coordination with the new interim government in Kyiv, Washington is pressing Russia to open talks to defuse tensions and allow international monitors into the disputed region of Crimea to assure the safety of Ukrainians who are based there.

In a Moscow-backed referendum, Crimeans voted to leave Ukraine and join Russia following last month's collapse of the pro-Russian government in Kyiv. But most of the international community refuses to recognize the results of that referendum, and many Western nations have already imposed economic sanctions against Russia. Preliminary indications suggest those moves are already affecting the Russian economy, and the United States and its European allies are also threatening tougher sanctions if Russia's troops push deeper into Ukraine.

Apparent progress toward easing the most serious U.S.-Russian standoff since the end of the Cold War follows Moscow's insistence that it will go no further than annexing Crimea — for now. Lavrov spoke Saturday on Russian television.

"Russia has absolutely no intention of — or interest in — crossing Ukraine's borders," Lavrov said in the televised statement.

"Moscow wants only for the work to resolve the crisis to be multilateral," he added, explaining that he would want any negotiated agreement to stop what he calls "riots that the West is trying to cover up."

Kerry had been heading back to Washington from Saudi Arabia, where President Obama met with King Abdullah Friday, when he learned of Lavrov's comments. The secretary's plane changed course during a refueling stop in Shannon, Ireland, and headed for Paris.

Kerry and Lavrov enter Sunday's talks with what American University professor Keith Darden calls distinctly different views of Ukraine — with Moscow seeing a chaotic, U.S.-backed rebellion that threatens Russian interests, while Washington sees a "somewhat messy" move toward more representative rule.

"So the Maidan, for us, was democratic mobilization," Darden said. "For the Russians, it's Western-sponsored regime change. And I think that gap is just going to be there. This is a fundamental difference in the way our two countries see the world. And that's not going away anytime soon."

Putin mum

Lavrov's pledge that Russia "absolutely" will not make any military move into Ukraine was not followed by any official statement giving President Putin's views on the matter. The Kremlin leader initiated the telephone contact with President Obama Friday, but some observers say it is unclear whether Putin will explicitly confirm his foreign minister's comments. Some observers have suggested that Moscow may be reacting to its growing isolation over the Ukraine issue.

Ukraine's immediate neighbors — former Soviet republics that broke away from Moscow more than 20 years ago — and the Kremlin's former allies in Eastern Europe have strongly denounced Russia's pressure on Ukraine, and their views have echoed throughout Western Europe. The United Nations General Assembly also voted overwhelmingly to oppose Russia's annexation of Crimea earlier this month.

The ongoing Russian military buildup around Ukraine raised fears that Putin's policies were steering his nation toward "a new Cold War." U.S. officials estimate Russia has amassed 40,000 troops close to Ukraine's borders; Ukrainian government officials contend the Russian buildup around their northern, eastern and southern borders is closer to 100,000 troops.

Elections

In Ukraine Saturday, opposition leader Vitaly Klitschko dropped out of the race for president and threw his support behind billionaire businessman Petro Poroshenko.

Ukraine's former president Viktor Yanukovych left Kyiv for asylum in Russia after large-scale demonstrations against him last month, and the parliament in Kyiv called a presidential election for May.

Klitschko, a former world heavyweight boxing champion, told delegates from his Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform party the only way for the opposition to take over full control in Ukraine is to nominate, support and elect "a single candidate representing democratic forces."

Poroshenko and former prime minister Yulia Timoshenko are now the clear frontrunners in the May 25 election.

Tymoshenko was freed from prison amid the tumult of the Yanukovych uprising. Yanukovych had defeated her in Ukraine's previous presidential election, in 2010. Until last month she had been jailed since 2011 on charges of abuse of office.

PHOTOS: Developments in Ukraine and the Crimean Peninsula
  • People stand outside a closed McDonalds restaurant. The fast food restaurant chain announced this week that it is shuttering its three outlets in the Crimean peninsula over unspecified operations issues, Simferopol, Crimea, April 4, 2004.
  • People gather outside a currency exchange office in the Crimean city of Simferopol, April 4, 2014.
  • People stand in line as they wait to enter a branch of the Sberbank of Russia bank in the Crimean city of Simferopol, April 4, 2014.
  • Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk said during an interview with Reuters that the Kyiv government will stick to unpopular austerity measures "as the price of independence" as Russia steps up pressure on Ukraine to destabilize, Kyiv, April 3, 2014.
  • Ukraine's acting President Oleksandr Turchynov visits a military exhibition near the settlement of Desna in Chernigov region, Ukraine, April 2, 2014.
  • Ukrainian soldiers watch as an army medic helicopter flies above during a military exhibition near the settlement of Desna in Chernigov region, April 2, 2014.
  • People pass by barricades near the Dnipro Hotel in Kyiv, April 1, 2014.
  • Self-defense activists pass by the Dnipro Hotel in Kyiv, April 1, 2014.
  • Members of the Ukrainian far-right radical group Right Sector leave their headquarters in Dnipro Hotel as police special forces stand guard, Kyiv, April 1, 2014.
  • Commuters walk along railway lines next to Ukrainian tanks ready to depart from Crimea near Simferopol, March 31, 2014.
  • Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visits Crimea to consider priorities for its economic development, Simferopol, March 31, 2014.
  • Ukrainians, in accordance with Orthodox Church tradition of marking the 40th day since death, remember those who lost their lives during pro-Europe protests in Kyiv, March 30, 2014. 

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by: harvey from: las vegas, nv.
March 31, 2014 5:43 AM
It all comes back to Nation sovereigrity, whether air, land and sea.

Obviously, neither Nations or the United Nation's are not proactive to address, vote, and pass a global Law which all Nations sign, that over rides. and

Sets the standard globally, for all Nation's sovereigrity perimeters, which is the "core value" of those Nations that exist in this so called, "global community".

When Nation's Core value sovereigrity is invaded by its security perimeter, there will be reaction.

As Newton stated, "For every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction", which is the case here with North and South Korea.

Just like the other Nation of Ukraine, with it's port of Crimea being violated by its' state "core value perimeters" by the Russians, whether physical or invasion of air, land, or sea by military actions of practice or whatever means, the state-Nation should have legal priority, to balance, not compromise with those who chose to attempt to bully their way.

Just because of some advanced greater power, such as Nukes, or Nuke building capability, should not make their egos bigger then NATO, or other International Laws, which they sign, this is a legal, and enforceable contract, as our Global Community evolves.

There is no stopping globalization, it started from the Vikings, and continues even at this writing, whether we like it or not, if we can't run with the big dogs, then stay on our porch, and lick our pride.

No matter what our individual mindset is, just as we know longer live in the "Stone Age", we are not pagans, and we should follow the same guidelines of internal Constitutions to measure, and protect.

To secure our Nation, and our laws, not to build fences, but to tear down walls, in this developing Global Community.

Not wait until after the fact of massive slaughter like in Syria by Assad, or even the violation of Saddam in Iraq, or Afghanistan, or any Nation State, which we all know has cost our Nation State a lot of lives, and monies with none diplomatic actions to date.

by: Don Miles from: Elliot Lake, Canada
March 30, 2014 12:15 PM
Putin does have ambitions to restore the territorial influence of the former USSR. He may back down, however, but more on the basis of political exchange and pressure than by military deterrent, although military deterrent is necessary to communicate. Ukraine may never be able to join NATO without a military confrontation with Russia. It is too historically connected to Russia. I think the current military deployment by Russia east of Ukraine might be scale back as likely as scaled up. This is the riddle of dealing with Putin. I don't think he wants to fight a war and risk economic and political loss. I do think he fashions himself on the desire for a territorial victory. That would require war eventually without political support from Europe to rejoin a Russian empire. Putin hasn't thought through his novel, his method of restoring Russian influence in Europe and may never achieve his goal. The West should be firm but continue to negotiate and arbitrate on the political level.

by: Traian Basescu from: Bucharest
March 30, 2014 9:39 AM
Alaskans should hold a referendum,
then hawaiians,
then...
In Response

by: Tom Murphy from: Northern Virginia
March 31, 2014 5:51 PM
Russia is the nation pushing referendums. It should demonstrate to the world how to perform them within Russia under UN and OSCE supervision. There should be a referendum in Chechnia, in Belrus, and in all the regions of Russia that have a different ethnic or religious backround from Russia. In all of these referendums there must always be the option to become independent from Russia.

by: Leroy Padmore from: Jersey City
March 29, 2014 11:45 PM
Mr. Putin wants to start WW3, I got a news for him and his grandpa Lavrov, They will be fighting WW3 with their own Russian citizens. cuz nobody gat time for their mess. Those are low life gangster.

by: BrianLUO from: China
March 29, 2014 10:27 PM
Capture first, then talk to the International to get the recognition through diplomacy. That's always the step to do this.
In Response

by: zhuzhishan from: china
March 30, 2014 3:49 AM
yes

by: Spark from: España
March 29, 2014 8:22 PM
Just look at the Lavrov´s face. Any person, a little familiar with a phsychology can tell a lot about his profile. It's a kinda f---ing gangster face - false & violent, no mention the content of his (Putin's) declarations.
In Response

by: E from: world
March 31, 2014 5:47 AM
Jeez, and how dumb are you

by: Ravi from: alberta
March 29, 2014 1:22 PM
This is called face saving diplomacy.pinch and sooth policy.crimea is gone for good

by: Scoop Henderson from: USSA
March 29, 2014 12:07 PM
The coup is applauded by US. So, shall we do one here?
In Response

by: Tom Murphy from: Northern Virginia
March 31, 2014 11:40 PM
The modern state of Russia was started by a coup that executed the Czar and his entire family. I don't understand why Russians are so averse to a revolution in Ukraine. Wasn't it Lenin who said that "In order to make an omelet, you first have to break eggs."? Have Russians forgotten their own history?

by: Gennady from: Russia, Volga Region
March 29, 2014 11:58 AM
It’s the best news for days in this confrontational period that there are signs for US-Russia Diplomacy. I wish good luck for all participating in the forthcoming talks to solve all the controversies of the Ukranian issue that are of the magnitude comparable to the cutting Gordian Knot by Alexander the Great.
In Response

by: Tom Murphy from: Northern Virginia
March 31, 2014 6:02 PM
Putin is working from a psychologically-perceived advantage of having more nuclear warheads ready for action. The USA, in the interest of world peace, naively agreed to a mutual reduction of nuclear warheads deployed from a position of having overwhelming superiority of numbers. The USA should now restore its nuclear arsenal to a level equal to or greater than the number that Russia has deployed so that Mr Putin will no longer view himself as the worlds greatest nuclear power. This is the source of his agressiveness. Let's reduce his agressiveness.
In Response

by: meanbill from: USA
March 29, 2014 1:39 PM
ONLY the Ukrainians themselves, can solve the Ukraine problems... They must write a Democratic constitution, and have honest Democratic free elections...
AND the truth is? .. ONLY Putin and Russia is telling the world what Ukraine needs, and not the US, the EU, or NATO....
Putin and Russia say Ukraine needs international help in writing their own Democratic constitution, and helping set up Democratic elections....
STRANGE isn't it? ... It's Putin and Russia proposing this, isn't it?

by: leo from: usa
March 29, 2014 11:50 AM
excuse me but they already have taken over part of Ukraine.
In Response

by: ed from: usa
March 29, 2014 11:21 PM
krim is Russian land , and it will be dispite all this western crup
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