John Kerry in Kiev: Russian aggression cannot be ignored

John Kerry

Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko has called for NATO to supply Kiev with weapons to fight rebels in the east. Secretary Kerry gave no indication of the US response to that request, however.

But he said what he called “Russia’s continued aggression” in the east could not be ignored.

“We want a diplomatic solution but we cannot close our eyes to tanks that are crossing the border from Russia and coming into Ukraine. We can’t close our eyes to Russian fighters in unmarked uniforms crossing the border and leading individual companies of so-called separatists in battle.”

Kerry also cited “modern rockets” and other military hardware that he said crossed the border from Russia too.

The French President François Hollande and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel are also visiting Kiev on Thursday, before flying on to Moscow to meet Russia’s President Vladimir Putin on Friday.

Moscow confirmed plans for the meeting with Merkel and Hollande and said it hoped the talks would be “constructive”. A presidential aide in Kiev said it awaited the talks with “restrained optimism”.

The Franco-German plan looks like an eleventh-hour bid by Europe’s core powers to halt the escalation of the conflict ahead of diplomatic deadlines that are likely to make east-west confrontation even worse, according to Reuters.

German and French officials gave few details in public of the substance of their new proposals for fear of damaging the delicate diplomacy involved.

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