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Kerry to visit Kiev as US cuts some ties with Moscow

Armed servicemen stand near their armoured personnel carrier in the eastern Crimea's port city of Feodosiya on March 2, 2014US Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Kiev this week in a high-profile show of support for the embattled Ukrainian leadership, as Washington began Sunday to implement punishing cuts in normal ties with Moscow. The announcement came after Kerry warned Russia risked being stripped of its coveted seat among the prestigious Group of Eight nations for its “brazen act of aggression” of sending troops into Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula. The surprise Kiev stop was added onto the top US diplomat’s planned trip to Rome and Paris amid growing alarm at fast-moving events in Ukraine, with senior officials saying Russian forces now had “complete operational control” of southern Crimea. Kerry will meet Tuesday “with senior representatives of Ukraine’s new government, leaders of the Rada and members of civil society,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement.

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