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    U.S.-Russia Talks on Ukraine Fail to Ease Tension

    March 15, 2014

    An 11th-hour bid by Secretary of State John Kerry to ease the escalating crisis over the Kremlin’s intervention in Crimea ended in failure on Friday, raising the likelihood of sanctions against Russia and deepening the most serious East-West rift since the end of the Cold War.

    American officials said they presented a range of ideas on how a compromise over Crimea might be achieved, including arrangements to expand the peninsula’s autonomy and safeguard the rights of the Russian-speaking population.

    But the officials said that Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, appeared to have little or no leeway to negotiate and that President Vladimir V. Putin was determined that Crimea’s referendum on seceding from Ukraine should proceed on Sunday.

    “I presented a number of ideas on behalf of the president,” Mr. Kerry said in a news conference after the talks. “After much discussion, the foreign minister made it clear that President Putin is not prepared to make any decision on Ukraine until after the referendum on Sunday.”

    Last modified on Monday, 17 March 2014 11:11

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