LONDON - Secretary of State John Kerry said neither the United States nor the international community would recognize the outcome of Sunday's Crimea referendum.
He said there would be "consequences” if Moscow does not find “a way to change course" over the future of Ukraine - a sign that there had been no deal despite six hours of talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in London.
Kerry said the only concern of the U.S. was the rights of the Ukrainian people. "We are interested in the people of Ukraine having their country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity respected," he told a news conference.
Although the two men posed for the cameras before their meeting, they appeared separately in front of reporters, underscoring the gap between Moscow and Washington.
"We do not have a common vision of the situation," Lavrov earlier told journalists through an interpreter, adding that the “dialogue was constructive."
Kerry warned that the referendum could be tantamount to the "backdoor annexation of Crimea." He added that Putin choosing to wait until after the referendum to make a decision was "a decision of enormous consequence with respect to the global community."
"If the referendum takes place there will be some sanctions," he added. "There will be some response, let me put it that way."
- Alexander Smith
First published March 14 2014, 9:46 AM