Ukraine: Kerry rejects Putin talks
The US secretary of state has rejected an offer of talks with President Vladimir Putin until Russia engages with US proposals on Ukraine’s crisis.
John Kerry told his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov that Moscow’s military intervention in Crimea had made any negotiations extremely difficult.
US officials say there will be little to discuss if the referendum on whether Crimea should join Russia goes ahead.
Ukraine and the West say the vote, due to be held on Sunday, is illegal.
Russia said on Monday it was drafting counter-proposals to a US plan for a negotiated solution to the crisis.
Moscow has condemned Ukraine’s new Western-backed government as an unacceptable “fait accompli” – it says that Russian-leaning parts of the country have been turned into havens of lawlessness.
Meanwhile, Pro-Russian troops are blockading Ukrainian troops across Crimea, which is an autonomous region.
Moscow has officially denied that its troops are taking part in the blockades, describing the armed men with no insignia as Crimea’s “self-defence” forces.
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