U.S. Secretary of State Meeting With Russian PM on Ukraine Situation


U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in London for tough talks with the Russian foreign minister about the crisis in Ukraine. At least one person was killed in demonstrations on Friday in eastern Ukraine. The country is in turmoil after Russia sent troops into Ukrainian territory following the ousting of the country's pro-Russian president.

Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart are looking for a diplomatic solution before Ukrainians in Crimea vote to secede on Sunday.

"Obviously we have a lot to talk about," Kerry said.

Kerry is telling Foreign Minster Sergey Lavrov that his nation faces economic sanctions if the Russians do not back off.

Russian troops and local militias have occupied Crimea for weeks. Moscow says they are protecting the ethnic Russian majority there. Many Western nations say the occupation and the referendum vote are illegal.

"It is not a referendum that any of us can recognize in any democratic society," said British Foreign Secretary William Hague.

Britain and the rest of the European Union support the United States' proposed sanctions, which include travel restrictions and freezing the assets of at least 120 Russians.

Kerry is offering to suspend those sanctions if Russia stops troop advances in Crimea, returns Russian troops to bases and allows in international observers.

Ukraine's new government says it is willing to give Crimea more autonomy and more balance between East and Western influences. That could help the United States and Russia remain friendly rivals and not return to being Cold War-era enemies.

If the sanctions go as planned they will go into effect on Monday, the day after the referendum in Ukraine's Crimea region on joining Russia.

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