Vladimir Putin, John Kerry, Sergey Lavrov

Kerry holds 'frank' talks with Putin in bid to improve ties

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, second right, meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Bocharov Ruchei residence in Sochi, Russia, Tuesday May 12, 2015. At left is Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. (Alexei Nikolsky/ RIA-Novosti, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)Russian President Vladimir Putin and US Secretary of State John Kerry held four hours of rare face-to-face talks on Tuesday as the two nations sought ways to cooperate after a sharp deterioration in relations. The highest level US visit to Russia since the Ukraine crisis erupted in late 2013 did not result in any major agreements, but Kerry’s trip in itself and a marked change in tone were seen as signs of the countries’ willingness to improve ties. “Today’s meetings allowed us to better understand each other,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters after talks on Ukraine, Syria and Iran, among other issues, in the Black Sea resort town of Sochi. “I express President Obama’s gratitude for Russia’s willingness to engage in this discussion at a time when the exchange of views could not be more important,” Kerry said after his meeting with Putin and another four hours of talks with Lavrov.

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