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Lavrov tells Kerry Ukraine must stop operation in east

Sergei Lavrov has told US Secretary of State John Kerry that Ukraine must stop its military operation in the country's southeastern as part of efforts to defuse the crisis, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Credit: Parspix/ABACA/Press Association Images

In a telephone conversation with Kerry, Lavrov also urged the US to use its influence to secure the release of what the ministry called leaders of the "protest movement" in the region - a reference to pro-Russian separatists.

Kerry and Lavrov discussed efforts to resolve the situation involving detained OSCE military observers, the ministry said, adding that the controlling parts of southeastern Ukraine had not been properly informed of the observers' plans to travel there.

Geneva talks on Ukraine an hour over schedule

The four-way talks between diplomats from the US, Russia, Ukraine and the EU have now run an hour over schedule, according to ITV News Diplomatic Correspondent John Ray.

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Kerry meets foreign ministers ahead of talks

US Secretary of State John Kerry has met his Ukrainian and Russian counterparts ahead of four-way talks between representatives of the US, Ukraine, Russia and the EU.

John Kerry with Ukraine's foreign minister, Andriy Deshchytsia Credit: US State Department

Mr Kerry met Russia's Sergei Lavrov and Ukraine's Andriy Deshchytsia, having earlier held bilateral talks with EU foreign affairs chief Baroness Ashton.

John Kerry with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov Credit: US State Department

John Kerry and Baroness Ashton in Geneva talks

US Secretary of State John Kerry has begun bilateral talks with the EU's high representative for foreign affairs, Baroness Ashton, about the situation in Ukraine.

Later this morning the pair will join the Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers for a further round of talks on resolving the crisis.

Kerry: 'Remember victims, honour heroes' one year on

US Secretary of State John Kerry tweeted on the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings:

Russia and US exchange warnings over action in Ukraine

Russia and the United States exchanged strong-worded warnings over armed actions in Ukraine today.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that any armed action by Ukrainian authorities in the east of the country would undermine efforts at a diplomatic solution to the conflict.

John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov meet in Paris on March 30. Credit: Reuters/Jacquelyn Martin

Mr Lavrov made the warning during a call from US Secretary of State John Kerry, who in turn expressed concern about Russia's role in "inciting" trouble in eastern Ukraine, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The White House warned Russia against further military action in Ukraine after armed separatists seized government offices in the eastern city of Slaviansk today, saying the situation was reminiscent of what recently happened in Crimea.

Mr Lavrov said Ukraine was "demonstrating its inability to take responsibility for the fate of the country."He said that any use of force against Russian speakers in the east of Ukraine "would undermine the potential for cooperation."

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John Kerry joins Middle East peace talks

US Secretary of State John Kerry disembarks from his plane upon his arrival at Ben Gurion International airport. Credit: Reuters

US secretary of state John Kerry is heading back to the Middle East for talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders as peace negotiations hit a critical make-or-break point.

The US state department said Mr Kerry will travel to Israel and the Palestinian territories amid a flurry of diplomatic activity by American mediators, in the hope of salvaging the troubled negotiations and getting them to extend the talks beyond a current late-April deadline.

US-Russia's Ukraine crisis talks end after four hours

John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov's latest talks were held at the Russian Ambassador's residence in the French capital. Credit: Reuters/Jacquelyn Martin

The latest Ukraine crisis talks between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Paris have ended after four hours, a US official has said.

Kerry hopes Crimea will not impact Russia's Syria role

John Kerry has suggested Vladimir Putin may have annexed Crimea because he was "angry about the end of the Cold War". Credit: Reuters/Yuri Gripas

US Secretary of State John Kerry has said he hopes the current situation in Crimea will not have an impact on cooperation with Russia over the ongoing destruction of Syria's chemical weapons.

Mr Kerry also said the US is "convinced" that the Syria could move faster on the destruction programme than it is currently.

Kerry: Russia must pull back troops

US Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that Russia must pull back its troops to their bases in Crimea, a US official has said.

Mr Kerry also reiterated that the White House regards today's referendum on the future of Crimea as illegal and the US government will not recognise the outcome.

Two of the EU's most senior officials, Jose Manuel Barroso and Herman van Rompuy, also released a joint statement calling the referendum "illegal and illegitimate".

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