Lavrov tells Putin Russia still at odds with West over Ukraine
SOCHI, Russia - Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told President Vladimir Putin on Monday that Russia's position on Ukraine was at odds with the West, and that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had declined an invitation to visit Russia for further talks.
"It is all being formulated as if there was a conflict between Russia and Ukraine ... and our partners suggested using the situation created by a coup as a starting point," he told Putin, adding that the West wanted Russia and the United States to bring their positions together.
Russia says any solution to the standoff over Ukraine should be based on an EU-brokered agreement signed by ousted President Viktor Yanukovich on Feb. 21, which would see constitutional reform and elections by December.
"Along with the Security Council of Russian Federation, we prepared our own proposals aimed at returning the situation into the framework of international law, to honour the interests of all Ukrainians, given the deep governmental crisis in Ukraine," Lavrov said
When Putin asked his foreign minister to report on his contacts with EU and U.S. officials, Lavrov said he had invited Kerry for talks in Russia on Monday on the president's instructions. He said Kerry had called back on Saturday to say he wanted to postpone such a meeting.