Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Russia Makes Demands for a Diplomatic End to Ukraine Crisis ; US and European Officials Attempt to Calm Situation as Troops Gather on Border

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Russia Makes Demands for a Diplomatic End to Ukraine Crisis ; US and European Officials Attempt to Calm Situation as Troops Gather on Border

Article excerpt

RUSSIA has set out demands for a diplomatic resolution to the crisis in Ukraine, saying the former Soviet republic should be unified in a federation allowing wide autonomy to its various regions.

The demands were issued as US secretary of state John Kerry and Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov met in Paris in another bid to calm tensions.

After a brief call with French foreign minister Laurent Fabius, Mr Kerry sat down with Mr Lavrov at the residence of the Russian ambassador to France to go over Moscow's response to a US plan to de- escalate the situation as Russian troops continue to mass along the Ukrainian border.

The plan that Mr Kerry and Mr Lavrov are discussing covers Ukrainian political and constitutional reforms as well as the disarmament of irregular forces, international monitors to protect minority rights and direct dialogue between Russia and Ukraine, according to US officials, who say it has backing of Ukraine's government.

Mr Lavrov rejected suspicions that the deployment of tens of thousands of Russian troops near Ukraine is a sign Moscow plans to invade the country following its annexation of the strategic Crimean peninsula. …

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