Lavrov, Kerry fail to bridge gaps on Ukraine

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (left) and US Secretary of State John Kerry meet to discuss the Ukraine crisis on the sidelines of an international conference in Rome, on March 6, 2014Russia’s top diplomat Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry failed again Tuesday to bridge differences on resolving the crisis in Ukraine, with a potentially explosive breakaway vote in Crimea just days away. A fresh phone conversation between the two diplomats did not forge any common ground, both sides admitted, as the clock ticks to Sunday’s controversial referendum in Ukraine’s pro-Moscow southern peninsula where thousands of Russian troops have been deployed. In the latest move in days of intense diplomacy, the two men spoke after Kerry unveiled a series of proposals on how to dial back tensions that have escalated since ousted president Viktor Yanukovych fled Kiev last month. Lavrov’s “answers largely were stated positions that we heard” in talks in Paris and Rome last week, said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki on the eve of a highly-symbolic visit to the White House by interim Ukrainian prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk.

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