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Russia says has no plans to invade eastern Ukraine

LONDON (Reuters) - Russia has no plans to invade southeastern Ukraine but the Kremlin will respect the result of the upcoming referendum in Ukraine's Crimea region, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday. Speaking after several hours of talks in London with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Lavrov there was still no common vision with the West over Ukraine and that Russia needed no international structure to help it mediate with Kiev.

Russia warns US against 'hasty' actions on Ukraine

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday warned US Secretary of State John Kerry against Washington taking "hasty" action or imposing sanctions over Ukraine, in what has escalated into the biggest East-West crisis since the Cold War. In a telephone call, the two men followed up on their talks in Paris and Rome that had failed to lead to an agreement on how to resolve the situation in Ukraine, where Russian troops have taken effective control of Crimea.

Lavrov leaves Paris talks without meeting Ukrainian counterpart: diplomats

PARIS (Reuters) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov left talks on the Ukrainian crisis in Paris on Wednesday without having met his Ukrainian counterpart, Western diplomats said. Lavrov, who earlier held talks with foreign ministers from the United States, France, Germany and Britain, said further discussions on Ukraine would take place "in days to come". "We are all concerned at what it is happening there," he told reporters on leaving the French Foreign Ministry.

EU suggests Iceland can wait and see on membership bid

The EU's ambassador in Reykjavik said Wednesday that Iceland could put its EU membership bid on hold instead of retracting it, publicly contradicting the Icelandic prime minister. Matthias Brinkmann, a German diplomat, mentioned during an interview with Icelandic public broadcaster RUV the "precedent" of Malta, which joined the EU in 2004, after putting its bid on hold while a Euro-sceptic government was in office. "So in a way that is possible, but of course not for an unlimited period of time, that I think is evident," Brinkmann said.

Kerry urges talks with Ukraine in meeting with Russia's Lavrov

KIEV (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged direct talks between Russia and Ukraine during a brief discussion with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday, a U.S. official said. It was the first time Kerry and Lavrov have met face to face since Russian troops effectively occupied Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula. "The Secretary urged direct talks between Russia and Ukraine," a senior State Department official said of the brief "pull aside" on the sidelines of a conference on Lebanon.

Kerry presses Russian FM to meet Ukrainian counterpart

US Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday pressed Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to hold face-to-face talks with his counterpart from the new Ukrainian government on the Crimea crisis. Kerry, who has worked closely with Lavrov on Syria, made the appeal on the sidelines of an international meeting on Lebanon here. "Secretary Kerry had a brief pull aside discussion with Foreign Minister Lavrov after the larger sideline discussion they had with other foreign ministers," a senior State Department official said.

Lavrov accuses Ukraine's new leaders of threatening minorities

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday accused Ukraine's new leaders of attacking minority rights and said that ultra-nationalists control many areas of the ex-Soviet country. "The victors intend to make use of the fruits of their victory to attack human rights and fundamental freedoms... of minorities," Lavrov told the opening of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. "The radicals continue to control the cities" and "limit the rights of linguistic minorities."

Philippine pride as Oscar win caps rare quad for songwriter

Songwriter Robert Lopez gave the Philippines some Oscars joy on Sunday as he completed a rare quadruple triumph at the 86th Academy Awards. The 39-year-old American scooped the Oscar for best original song for "Let It Go" from the Disney hit animated film "Frozen." The win, which Lopez shared with his wife Kristin Anderson-Lopez, saw the songwriter join an elite band who have won the grand slam of entertainment industry awards -- Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony -- or "EGOT".

Russia says: Don't force Ukraine to choose between us and West

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Ukraine must not be forced to choose between close ties with Russia or the West, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday. The comment was the latest in a series of warnings from Moscow to the European Union and United States not to try to shape the ex-Soviet state's future.

Russia: Don't force Ukraine to choose between Russia and West

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Ukraine must not be forced to choose between close ties with Russia or the West, Russia Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday in Moscow's latest warning to the European Union and United States not to try to shape the ex-Soviet state's future. "It is dangerous an counterproductive to try to force upon a Ukraine a choice on the principle: 'You are either with us or against us'," Lavrov said at a joint news conference after talks with Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn. (Writing by Steve Gutterman)
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