Newspaper article International New York Times

Russia Says 'No Common Vision' Found on Ukraine

Newspaper article International New York Times

Russia Says 'No Common Vision' Found on Ukraine

Article excerpt

The government halted the work of Doctors Without Borders after some officials accused it of favoring the Muslim Rohingya over Buddhists.

An 11th-hour bid by Secretary of State John Kerry to ease the escalating crisis over the Kremlin's intervention in Crimea ended inconclusively on Friday, with his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov, declaring that Russia and the West have "no common vision" about the events that led to the impasse.

In a more positive vein, Mr. Lavrov also said that Russia "does not have any plans to invade eastern or southern Ukraine," despite the buildup of Russian forces in regions along the Ukrainian border that has raised fears in Ukraine and beyond that an invasion could be imminent.

Mr. Lavrov held firm to Russia's positions throughout the crisis, denouncing the ouster of Viktor F. Yanukovych as a coup, refusing to recognize the new government, opposing the creation of a "contact group" and reiterating Crimea's right to self-determination.

"We don't have a common vision of the situation," Mr. Lavrov said during his appearance after the talks, held in London, which he nonetheless called helpful in clarifying the seemingly intractable positions. "Our differences remain."

Mr. Lavrov refused to say whether Russia would move to recognize Crimea as an independent state or to absorb it as a region of the Russian Federation. Instead, he repeated President Vladimir V. Putin's pledge to "respect the choice" of voters in a referendum on secession on Sunday, after which Russia would announce its next steps. "It makes no sense to speculate at this point," he said. "We'll just have to wait and see."

He brushed aside the threats of sanctions and other punitive measures made by President Obama and European leaders, saying that Mr. Kerry "made no threats regarding Russia." He said the sanctions that have been widely discussed by officials and reported in the news media would be "a counterproductive instrument. …

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