LONDON, March 14 (Xinhua) -- British Foreign Secretary William Hague on Friday expressed here his deep disappointment at the failure of U.S.-Russia talks on solving the Ukraine crisis.
"It is deeply disappointing that today's talks did not produce the diplomatic breakthrough," Hague said in a statement after the talks concluded in London.
No substantial agreement was reached between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, as both sides refused to back down from their previous stances towards the stalemate in Ukraine.
Though both leaders described their talks as "constructive," major disagreements remain largely unresolved, especially over the upcoming Sunday referendum in Crimea on whether the Ukrainian autonomous republic will join Russia or remain part of Ukraine.
He said EU foreign ministers will meet on Monday in Brussels to discuss the next steps, including the case for further sanctions against Russia.
"The United Kingdom is strongly of the view that there must be a firm and united response from the European Union at the meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council on Monday, and that the time has come for tougher restrictive measures to be adopted as previously agreed by EU nations," he urged.
At the same time, Hague noted that the door remains open for "diplomacy and dialogue."
Crimea seeks to join Russia, not independence: PM
SIMFEROPOL, March 14 (Xinhua) -- Crimea is seeking to join Russia rather than win independence in the format of Abkhazia, Crimean Prime Minister Sergey Aksenov said Friday.
"Personally I believe that the Crimea should enter as a subject to the Russian Federation," Aksenov said at a press briefing. Full story
UN chief says Ukraine "at crossroads", fears "dangerous downward spiral"
UNITED NATIONS, March 14 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Friday that "it is clear that we are at a crossroads" in the Ukrainian crisis and "if positions continue to harden and rhetoric continues to sharpen, there is a great risk of a dangerous downward spiral."
Crimea, a Ukrainian autonomous republic, is to hold a referendum Sunday on whether to stay in Ukraine or join Russia. The Russian parliament has paved the way for Crimea to become part of Russia, but no decision has been made on annexation. Full story
Kiev in talks with U.S., NATO over military assistance: Ukrainian PM
KIEV, March 14 (Xinhua) -- Kiev is in talks with the United States and NATO over a possible military technical assistance, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk said Friday.
"As for military assistance, we hold bilateral and multilateral consultations on technical support," Yatsenyuk said during a media briefing at the International Boryspil Airport after his visit to Washington. Full story