John Kerry to meet Russia’s Lavrov on Ukraine

Washington, March 13: US Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday that he will meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in London Friday, two days ahead of a referendum in Ukraine’s autonomous republic of Crimea.

The US will offer “certain choices” to Russia in hopes of finding a way forward that defuses the current situation in Ukraine and respects the country’s integrity and sovereignty, Xinhua quoted Kerry as telling lawmakers at a House hearing.

Crimea, the epicenter of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine since president Viktor Yanukovych was ousted by parliament Feb 22, is scheduled to hold a referendum on its future status Sunday.

Russia has said it would respect the “historic” decision Crimean people would take, while Western countries are questioning the legitimacy of the vote.

Kerry said while Washington respects Russia’s interests with respect to Crimea, “nothing justifies a military intervention that the world has witnessed”.

“There are many other legitimate ways to address Russia’s concerns, and we are trying to make that very, very clear,” the top US diplomat said.

IANS