With Russian Minister, Kerry Kicks A Soccer Ball And Talks Ukraine

Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meet in London Friday for talks about the crisis in Ukraine.

Copyright © 2014 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. Vice President Joe Biden will be heading to Eastern Europe next week. The White House says he'll discuss the crisis in Ukraine during a visit to nearby Poland and Lithuania. Biden plans to hold talks with those two American allies. He'll also meet with the presidents of Estonia and Latvia. Today's announcement of the vice president's trip comes after Secretary of State John Kerry met with his Russian counterpart in London. With two days until Crimea votes on joining Russia, this was a last-ditch effort to find a political solution to the crisis. As NPR's Ari Shapiro reports, there was no breakthrough.

ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: At the U.S. ambassador's residence in London, Secretary Kerry spent all day in talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. The two men sat around a dining room table with their staff, and they took private laps around a massive lawn, kicking a soccer ball as they talked.

Finally, after six hours of negotiation, Lavrov spoke to reporters at the Russian ambassador's residence. Through an interpreter, he said there was no progress.

SERGEY LAVROV: (Through translator) As far as practical measures that could be taken by foreign partners of Ukraine, we don't have a common ground or similar views. We actually diverge on our views.

SHAPIRO: From the U.S. perspective, Russian President Vladimir Putin did not give Lavrov authority to negotiate about Crimea at all. Secretary Kerry spoke at his hotel.

SECRETARY JOHN KERRY: The foreign minister made it clear that President Putin is not prepared to make any decision regarding Ukraine until after the referendum on Sunday.

SHAPIRO: The West views the Crimea referendum as illegal and illegitimate. Kerry said neither the U.S. nor the European Union will recognize its results.

KERRY: There will be consequences if Russia does not find a way to change course. And we don't say that as a threat.

SHAPIRO: Between now and Sunday, it's possible that international heads of state will try to pressure Putin directly. If that doesn't work, European foreign ministers are meeting in Brussels on Monday. Depending on how the Crimea vote goes, that meeting could bring new sanctions against Russia. Ari Shapiro, NPR News, London.

Copyright © 2014 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.