Home World Europe News Sergei Lavrov holds Ukraine talks with US and EU diplomats in Paris

Sergei Lavrov holds Ukraine talks with US and EU diplomats in Paris


The foreign ministers from Russia, the US and key EU states are holding talks in Paris to try to resolve Ukraine crisis.

The US wants independent observers in the flashpoint region of Crimea and direct talks between Kiev and Moscow.

Russia was expected to call for greater representation for Ukraine’s Russian-speaking areas in the Kiev government.

The EU earlier offered 11 billionn euros ($15 billion) of aid to Ukraine and froze the assets of 18 Ukrainians.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said the package of loans and grants over the next couple of years was “designed to assist a committed, inclusive and reforms-oriented government” in Kiev.

Russian soldiers at Sevastopol naval base in Ukraine

Russian soldiers at Sevastopol naval base in Ukraine (photo Itar-Tass)

Ukraine’s finance ministry has predicted it needs $35 billion to rescue the economy.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met US Secretary of State John Kerry and counterparts from France, Germany and the UK on the sidelines of a long-planned conference on Lebanon in Paris.

NATO and Russia have been holding parallel talks in Brussels.

The Paris gathering is being seen above all as a chance to test the waters for a dialogue about Ukraine.

In the US, Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel announced plans to expand US military co-operation with Poland and Baltic states.

Chuck Hagel said the US would step up joint aviation training with Poland, and increase its participation in NATO’s mission to police the air space of Baltic countries.

The announcement was a direct response to concerns raised last week by Poland, he said.

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