Secretary of State John Kerry warned Russia of “consequences” if it did not “change course.” He was addressing a press conference after a six-hour meeting on the Ukrainian crisis with his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
The talks concluded with both sides holding on to their respective positions on the situation in the Ukraine and Crimea where a referendum on the question of joining Russia is to be held on Sunday. At a separate press conference, Mr. Lavrov said that the two sides were unable to find a “common vision.” Russia respected “the will of the people to determine their future,” he said. He also ruled out Russian military intervention in Crimea.
Mr. Kerry, who described the talks as “direct, candid and frank”, said that the Russian Foreign Minister “made it clear that Mr. Putin is not prepared to make any decision till after the referendum.”
Both sides stuck to their positions on the Crimean referendum. “We believe that the referendum is illegal and illegitimate, and we do not recognise the outcome,” Mr. Kerry said.
Mr. Lavrov said that a people’s right to self-determination is a right enshrined in the U.N. charter, and Mr. Kerry said “there will be costs” if Russia does not pull back militarily in the region.