Britain says U.S., Russian talks on Ukraine to be 'formidably difficult'
The United States and Russia will find it formidably difficult to make progress on Ukraine at talks in London today, British Foreign Minister William Hague said on Friday, Reuters reported.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are meeting in a last-ditch diplomatic effort to defuse tension between Moscow and the West as a referendum in Crimea, a Russian-majority region of Ukraine, looks set to proceed on Sunday.
"The fact that so far Russia hasn't taken any actual action to de-escalate tensions makes this a formidably difficult task today," Hague said.
As a result of protests in Ukraine, the country's President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted on Feb. 22. The Verkhovna Rada (parliament) has approved the new composition of the parliament and is preparing to hold pre-term elections.
On Feb. 26 several thousand people participating in two rallies gathered in front of Supreme Council of Crimea. After the escalation of the protest actions in Crimea, the Federation Council supported President Vladimir Putin's appeal regarding the use of the Russian Armed Forces in Ukraine pending "the normalization of the socio-political situation in that country".
Leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK and the U.S., as well as chairman of the European Council and the chairman of the European Commission made a joint statement condemning Russia's position on Ukraine and canceled the preparations for the G8 summit in Sochi, scheduled for June 2014.