Ukraine Latest: Kerry; UN; Putin; Ukraine Presidential Race; Crimea's Tatars Anti-Annexation

By: ap
By: ap

UNITED STATES-UKRAINE
PARIS (AP) -- Secretary of State John Kerry is in Paris for a hastily arranged meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (SEHR'-gay LAHV'-rahf).
The two diplomats will discuss the crisis in Ukraine Sunday evening at the Russian ambassador's residence.
Kerry was flying home from Saudi Arabia on Saturday when he decided to head to Paris instead for talks with Lavrov.
The change in plans follows a phone conversation Friday between President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The two agreed to have their foreign ministers meet to discuss a possible diplomatic resolution to the Ukraine situation.
Kerry had already been due to return to Europe on Tuesday for a NATO foreign ministers meeting and had been considering returning to the Middle East to continue a press to salvage foundering Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Kerry aides say the option of going to Israel, the Palestinian territories or Jordan remains a possibility.

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) -- Ukrainian ex-world boxing champion Vitali Klitschko has announced he will not run for president and will instead throw his support behind billionaire businessman Petro Poroshenko.
Klitschko told a congress of his UDAR party Saturday that he plans to run for mayor of the capital city, Kiev.
His endorsement will prove a valuable boost for Poroshenko, who played a prominent role in the protest movement that led to the toppling last month of President Viktor Yanukovych.
Poroshenko, the owner of a major confectionery company and a former foreign minister, already leads in the polls for the May 25 presidential election and is seen as likely to beat ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who announced her candidacy this week.
The Kiev mayoral election is also scheduled for May 25.

UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says Russian President Vladimir Putin assured him that he had no intention of making another military move into Ukraine following the annexation of Crimea.
Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin echoed the U.N. chief saying Putin made clear in a March 18 statement that there wouldn't be a new Russian move into Ukraine.
Both spoke to reporters after Ban briefed the Security Council Friday on his recent talks with Putin and Ukraine's leaders.
The new Ukrainian government and the West have voiced concerns about a possible invasion as Russia builds up its troops near Ukraine's border.
Churkin said border inspections by about a dozen countries have not raised any alarms. He accused unnamed countries of "trying to artificially whip up the atmosphere of international crisis."

BAKCHYSARAI, Crimea (AP) -- Leaders of Crimea's Tatar minority have condemned Russia's annexation of the peninsula and appealed to international bodies for recognition as an autonomous group.
Tatars, an ethnically Turkic and mainly Muslim group that was subjected to mass deportation from their native Crimea by Soviet leader Josef Stalin in 1944, gathered Saturday to forge a collective response to Russia's absorption of their home province.
Decisions on whether to accept Russian citizenship and possible participation in a Moscow-loyal government were deferred as the community further contemplates its options.
But the forum underscored difficulties Russia will face in integrating a community that resisted annexation and largely boycotted the March 16 referendum to join Russia. Tatars account for around 12 percent of Crimea's population.


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