Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry will discuss the Ukraine crisis and other global conflicts on Tuesday in Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi, RIA news agency quoted a diplomatic source as saying.
Lavrov will tell Kerry US military support for the Kiev government, which is battling pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, would be unacceptable for Moscow, the source said. The two men will also discuss Yemen, Iran and Syria.
“We hope he (Kerry) will bring something new, some fresh look at … (the situation in) Ukraine and bilateral relations,” the source told RIA, adding that the talks were “very important” but playing down the prospects for any major breakthrough.
Relations between Russia and the West are at their lowest ebb since the end of the Cold War due to Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in March 2014 and its backing for the rebels in Ukraine. The West has imposed economic sanctions on Russia, triggering retaliatory measures by Moscow.
Russia denies Western and Ukrainian accusations that it is arming the separatists. Washington has raised the possibility of providing arms to help Ukrainian government forces, but key European countries such as Germany remain opposed to this.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said after talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Moscow on Sunday he believed the Ukraine peace process was “moving forward”.
U.S., German, French and British leaders all skipped a military parade in Moscow on Saturday marking the 70th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany in protest over Russia’s role in the Ukraine crisis, where more than 6,100 people have been killed since April 2014.
Lavrov and Kerry regularly speak by telephone, with the last conversation taking place on May 10th. They last officially met at the end of March in Lausanne, Switzerland, to discuss Iran.