U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov for about four hours on Sunday, where they discussed the situation in Ukraine and reportedly agreed at least on the need for a diplomatic solution.

From USA Today:

Secretary of State John Kerry says the Russian buildup of troops on its border with Ukraine is creating a climate of fear and intimidation in that country.

Kerry spoke after meeting Sunday night in Paris with Russian Foreign MinisterSergey Lavrov and said he told the diplomat that Ukrainians must be the ones who decide their own future.

“The United States is is [sic] consulting with Ukraine at every step of this process, and we will not accept the path forward if the legitimate government of Ukraine is not at the table,” Kerry said.

Kerry described his talks with the Russian diplomat as “a frank conversation” about Russia’s moves in Crimea and the large gathering of troops along the border with Ukraine.

“I made clear the United States still considers the Russian actions to be illegal and illegitimate,” Kerry said.

Russia wants the former Soviet republic to be unified in a federation allowing wide regional autonomy. Lavrov, in a Saturday interview on Russian-controlled TV, made clear that Moscow believes a federation is the only way to guarantee Ukraine’s neutrality.

“We can’t see any other way to ensure the stable development of Ukraine but to sign a federal agreement,” Lavrov said in the interview, adding he understood the United States was open to the idea. He reiterated Russian claims that the deployment of tens of thousands of troops near the Ukraine border were solely to conduct military exercises.

“We have absolutely no intention of, or interest in, crossing Ukraine’s borders,” Lavrov said.

Sunday’s talks followed a phone call from Russian President Vladimir Putin to President Obama Friday.  Kerry in turn diverted his trip home from the Middle East to travel to Paris for the meeting with Lavrov.

Reports on the meeting were just coming in at the time of this writing. If there are any other significant updates, we’ll update this post.

Update: More from Reuters.

Earlier video report from CNN:

[Featured image: Reuters video]


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