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US-Russia to hold Ukraine talks in Paris

© Photo: AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-03-05

US Secretary of State John Kerry will hold talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Wednesday in Paris in an attempt to mitigate mounting tensions over Ukraine’s crisis.

Here is a summary of recent events:

* US Secretary of State John Kerry travelled from Kiev to Paris to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and French officials Wednesday in an attempt to ease mounting tensions.

The European Union said Wednesday that it is ready to provide 11 billion euros of financial aid to Ukraine over the next couple of years.

* President Barack Obama spoke to German Chancellor Merkel on Tuesday about a potential resolution to the crisis ignited by Russian intervention in Ukraine’s Crimea region.

Under the proposal, Russia would pull back its forces in Crimea to their bases in the region, limit Russian troop numbers to a Ukraine-mandated ceiling of 11,000, and allow international monitors to ensure the human rights of ethnic Russians are being protected, the official said.

“We may be able to de-escalate over the next several days and weeks. ... It’s a serious situation and we are spending a lot of time on it,” Obama said at a fundraiser on Tuesday night.

* Obama will not attend a G8 summit scheduled for June in Sochi, Russia, if the status quo remains in Ukraine, it was confirmed on Tuesday.

* Obama said earlier on Tuesday that Russia was not "fooling anybody" over the crisis in Ukraine after Vladimir Putin denied Russian forces were operating on the flashpoint Black Sea peninsula of Crimea.

* A tough-talking Kerry, visiting Kiev, told a news conference that the US was committed to Ukraine's “sovereignty and territorial integrity according to international law”.

“We condemn the Russian Federation's act of aggression,” he added, calling Russian manoeuvring an attempt to “create a pretext for being able to invade further” into Ukraine.

* Russia's Putin said that events in Kiev were an "anti-constitutional coup and military seizure of power." Putin added that Russia reserves the right to use 'all means' to protect its citizens in Ukraine.

* Putin said at a press conference near Moscow that use of force in Ukraine was a ‘last resort’ and denied that Russian armed forces were directly engaged in the bloodless seizure of Crimea, saying that uniformed troops without national insignia operating in Ukraine were "local self-defence forces".

* In Washington, Obama acknowledged that Russia had legitimate interests in Ukraine but said that did not give Putin the right to intervene militarily.

"President Putin seems to have a different set of lawyers making a different set of interpretations," Obama said. "But I don't think that's fooling anybody."

* Ukraine's ousted leader, Viktor Yanukovich, sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin requesting that he use Russia's military to restore law and order in Ukraine, Moscow's UN envoy told a UN Security Council meeting on Monday.

* Pro-Russian protesters besieged lawmakers inside the regional government building in the eastern city of Donetsk, Yanukovich's hometown, on Monday in the latest such action.

* In Perevalnoye, half way between the Crimean capital of Simferopol and the Black Sea, hundreds of Russian troops in trucks and armoured vehicles - without national insignia on their uniforms - continue to surround two military compounds, confining Ukrainian soldiers, who have refused to surrender, as virtual prisoners.

* The European Union, which will hold an emergency summit on Thursday, has threatened unspecified "targeted measures" unless Russia returns its forces to their bases and opens talks with Ukraine's government.

Western leaders are not considering a military response, but NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the Western allies would intensify their assessment of how Russia's military moves in Ukraine affect the alliance's security.

See the live blog below for our coverage of Tuesday’s events. Smartphone and tablet users can follow this live blog by clicking here.

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Date created : 2014-03-04


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