Kerry won't visit Russia until Moscow shows "seriousness" on Ukraine


McClatchy Interactive

The State Department fired back Monday at Russian claims that Secretary of State John Kerry had declined an invitation to visit Moscow to discuss the Ukraine crisis.

Kerry's spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, told reporters in Washington that Russia had yet to show a "seriousness" to plans for direct talks with Ukraine, a U.S. precondition to deeper engagement on the crisis.

Psaki said Russia would first need to recognize the new Ukrainian government - which replaced the ousted Moscow-backed regime -- and stop military maneuvers and annexation attempts in Crimea, the Moscow-aligned region of Ukraine now under Russian occupation.

Psaki noted that Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, met in person last week and that a future in-person meeting hadn't been ruled out. But for now, she said, there's no trip to Moscow in the cards.

The Russians offer a different version of events.

According to a Radio Free Europe/Reuters report:

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has declined an invitation to visit Russia for further talks on the Ukraine crisis.

Lavrov, at a meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Sochi on March 10, said he had been handed proposals by Kerry to resolve the situation which, he said, "did not completely suit us."

"Last Friday John Kerry forwarded me a paper I told you about. In it we found a concept [of the resolution of the Ukrainian crisis] which sort of does not really suit us," Lavrov said. "It is because [the document] was formulated around the presence of a so-called conflict between Russia and Ukraine and also around the need to recognize the de facto situation. Thus our partners suggest that we proceed from the situation that has been created thanks to the coup [in Kyiv] and take subsequent steps that they find necessary under such circumstances."

Lavrov provided few additional details on the Washington proposals.

A State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the diplomacy, said the paper in question was simply a set of proposals for mechanisms to start direct Ukrainian-Russian negotiations. But no way would Kerry travel all the way to Russia just to "have them say, 'No, no, no,' to everything."

Without solid moves such as dropping the Feb. 21 agreement as a precondition and allowing international monitors into Crimea, diplomacy is paralyzed, the official said, suggesting that tKerry wasn't willing to risk a high-profile visit to Moscow that ends in failure.

"We're not just going to go there and be rolled," the official said.

Read more World Wires stories from the Miami Herald

  • Group: Justice elusive year after Syria gas attack

    One year after the deadly chemical attack on rebel-held areas outside Damascus, the victims and their families have yet to see those behind the mass killings held responsible, a human rights group said Thursday.

  • Indonesian police fire tear gas at poll protesters

    Indonesian police fired tear gas Thursday to disperse protesters trying to get close to a court set to rule on a challenge to the legality of last month's elections.

FILE - In this Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014 file photo, American Heather Mack, stands at the police district headquarters after she was brought in for questioning in relation to the death of her mother, in Bali, Indonesia.  Mack and her boyfriend also American Tommy Schaefer arrested in Indonesia on suspicion of murdering the woman's mother and stuffing her body into a suitcase at a resort hotel are being held under a suicide watch, their appointed lawyer said Wednesday.

    Police: Room disagreement preceded Bali killing

    Police investigating an American couple suspected of killing the woman's mother at a resort hotel on Indonesia's Bali island said Thursday the three had a disagreement over who was paying for the rooms, but that a motive for the crime has not been established.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category