LONDON - Russia’s foreign minister said the United States and Russia were still far apart on the crisis in Ukraine despite last-ditch talks with Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday.
“We do not have a common vision of the situation,” Sergei Lavrov told journalists in London through an interpreter, adding that the “dialogue was constructive.”
He met with Kerry about the Ukraine, whose strategic Crimea region is voting on Sunday on whether to secede and join Russia.
Lavrov also told reporters that Russia had no plans to invade southeastern Ukraine.
"The Russian Federation does not and cannot have any plans to invade the southeastern regions of Ukraine," he said.
Pro-Russian forces took control of the autonomous region of Crimea after Ukraine's pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted last month by protesters angry at the country’s move away from Europe and the West.
Lavrov also said Crimea – which was part of the Soviet Union before the end of communism – was of “immeasurable” value to Russia, and meant more to his country than the Falklands mean to Britain.
Argentina invaded the Falklands in 1982, prompting British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to send a naval task force which retook the islands in a short but bloody war.
- F. Brinley Bruton.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.
First published March 14 2014, 9:07 AM