Kerry in Moscow to discuss Syria and Ukraine

US Secretary of State John Kerry meets Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow Monday. The Kremlin later announced that President Vladimir Putin would receive the US secretary and foreign minister to hear the results of their talks. A US official said Kerry had come to discuss efforts to get full implementation of the Minsk agreement, which includes a cease-fire in eastern Ukraine and a reciprocal withdrawal of heavy weapons, as well as a possible ceasefire in Syria. Kerry will insist that Russia focus its military operation on the Islamic State militants, ahead of the effort to bring Syrian opponents around the same table Friday, Dec. 18. “Assad is still making negative noises that Russia needs to discuss with him,” the US official said.”

The foreign ministry in Moscow replied: “The situation surrounding the Russian-American relationship remains complicated. Russia has consistently pointed to the need to observe the principles of equality, mutual respect, and non-interference.”

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