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Russian Official says Russia Has 'No Intention' of Invading Ukraine

Secretary of State John Kerry discussed Ukraine with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. The two are expected to meet in person next week.
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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Saturday his country has "no intention" of invading Ukraine after Russia set off an international crisis when it annexed Crimea.

Lavrov's declaration came after he reportedly spoke with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on the phone before the pair is scheduled to meet Sunday in Paris.

"We have absolutely no intention of — or interest in — crossing Ukraine's borders," Lavrov said on Russian television, reinforcing the message from President Vladimir Putin that Russia would settle for having control over Crimea.

During the phone call, Kerry rerouted his plane from Saudi Arabia and headed to Europe in anticipation of meeting Lavrov, a senior administration official told NBC News.

Details of their phone call weren't immediately released. But Russia's foreign ministry said the call was initiated by the United States and followed Russian President Vladimir Putin's call to President Barack Obama on Friday. The pair discussed a proposal for a diplomatic solution after Russia's annexation of Crimea this month.

Kerry left Washington last Monday, and had been in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Friday before he was supposed to fly back to the United States on Saturday, a U.S. State Department spokeswoman said.

He was already due to return to Europe on Tuesday for a meeting with NATO foreign ministers.

— Mel Bailey