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Kerry, Lavrov meet as tensions soar over Ukraine

US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) meets Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at Villa Taverna in Rome on December 14, 2014Top US diplomat John Kerry met his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov Sunday, amid anger in Moscow over the prospect of new US sanctions and possible lethal military aid for Ukraine. The meeting in Rome came after US lawmakers passed a bill — dubbed the Ukraine Freedom Support Act — calling for additional sanctions against Russia and the delivery of up to $350 million (280 million euros) worth of US military hardware to Kiev. “Undoubtedly, we will not be able to leave this without a response,” deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov told Interfax news agency ahead of the talks. The Senate bill must still be approved by the White House, which has so far been reluctant to provide direct military assistance to Ukraine for fear of being drawn into a proxy war with Russia, which is backing separatist forces in Ukraine.

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