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Kerry urges Ukraine reforms, Russia pullback

US Secretary of State John Kerry urged Moscow Sunday to pull back Russian forces to their bases in Crimea in return for constitutional reforms in Ukraine to protect minority rights, a US official said. "The secretary made clear that this crisis can only be resolved politically and that as Ukrainians take the necessary political measures going forward, Russia must reciprocate by pulling forces back to base, and addressing the tensions and concerns about military engagement," the senior State Department official said.

Kerry urges Ukraine reforms, Russia pullback

US Secretary of State John Kerry urged Moscow Sunday to pull back Russian forces to their bases in Crimea in return for constitutional reforms in Ukraine to protect minority rights, a US official said. Kerry's overture, in a phone call with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, came as residents of Crimea were voting on whether to break away from Ukraine and join Russia in the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War.

Kerry warns Russia of greater response if Ukraine tensions rise

LONDON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said there would be an even greater response if Russia further increased tensions in Ukraine and threatened its people. After holding six hours of "direct and candid" talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in London, Kerry said the U.S. and international community would not recognize the outcome of the referendum in Crimea on Sunday. He added that Russian President Vladimir Putin was not prepared to make any decision on Crimea until after the vote.

Kerry in London for last-ditch Ukraine talks

Top US diplomat John Kerry arrived in London on Friday on an 11th-hour mission to head off a possible Russian annexation of Crimea on the heels of a breakaway vote by the Ukrainian region. With the clock ticking down to Crimea's referendum on Sunday, Kerry was to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov seeking to put the brakes on any moves by Russian President Vladimir Putin to swiftly annex the peninsula.

Kerry arrives in London for last-ditch Ukraine talks

Top US diplomat John Kerry arrived in London Friday on an 11th-hour mission to head off a possible Russian annexation of Crimea on the heels of a breakaway vote by the Ukrainian region. With the clock ticking down to Crimea's Sunday referendum, Kerry was to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov seeking to put the brakes on any moves by Russian President Vladimir Putin to swiftly annex the peninsula. jkb/yad

Kerry heads on crunch Ukraine talks with Russian FM

US Secretary of State John Kerry headed Thursday for last-ditch talks with Russia seeking to defuse tensions over Ukraine and warning Moscow of a serious backlash over Crimea's breakaway vote. Just hours before he left for London to meet again with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov ahead of Sunday's vote, the top US diplomat cautioned Moscow to move to help end the crisis.

Iran faces 'tough decisions' at nuclear talks

Iran has to take some "tough decisions" as world powers seek to hammer out a nuclear deal, US Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday with negotiations due to resume next week. His comments came as he was grilled by US lawmakers over the talks between Iran and the so-called P5+1 group, which are due to start up again in Vienna on Monday. Under a six-month interim deal, Iran agreed to freeze its uranium enrichment program in return for sanctions relief worth some $6-7 billion, including the transfer of some $4.2 billion in frozen overseas funds.

Kerry: U.S. seeking to assure S. Korea, Japan of nuclear umbrella

By Lee Chi-dong WASHINGTON, March 13 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday his government is trying to assure South Korea and Japan of its unswerving commitment to extended nuclear deterrence so that the key allies won't be tempted to develop nuclear bombs themselves. "We are working with Japan and the Republic of Korea (South Korea) in order to make sure they don't feel so threatened that they move towards nuclearization in self-help," the secretary said at a Senate hearing on the department's budget for fiscal year 2015.

Kerry heading on crunch Ukraine talks with Russian FM

US Secretary of State John Kerry was to head Thursday for last-ditch talks with Russia seeking to defuse tensions over Ukraine and warning Moscow of a serious backlash over Crimea's breakaway vote. Just hours before he left for London to meet again with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov ahead of Sunday's vote, the top US diplomat cautioned Moscow to help end the crisis.

Kerry warns U.S., Europe ready to act if Crimea referendum held

By Lesley Wroughton WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States and the European Union will take serious steps against Russia if a referendum on Ukraine's Crimea region goes ahead as planned on Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday. Kerry told a Senate hearing that he hoped to avoid such a response through discussions with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in London on Friday.
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