U.S. seeks to facilitate talks between Ukraine and Russia

.@WilliamJHague, @JohnKerry + interim #Ukraine Foreign Minister meeting in Paris as parties to Budapest Memorandum pic.twitter.com/Ha3Dx9hBGc

— Foreign Office (FCO) (@foreignoffice) March 5, 2014

Russia did not attend a meeting in Paris on Wednesday morning to discuss the Budapest Memorandum that the U.S., UK, Ukraine and Russia signed in 1994, promising to preserve Ukraine’s sovereignty after the country gave up what was the third largest nuclear arsenal.

Following the morning’s meeting, the State Department released a statement, saying that the U.S., U.K. and Ukraine have respected the treaty “with utmost seriousness, and expect Russia to as well,” adding that Russia has acted “unilaterally and militarily.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that the unmarked troops seen in the Crimea peninsula are “local self-defense forces” and not Russian soldiers. He also said that it was not necessary to send Russian troops into Ukraine.

Andrii Deshchytsia, acting Ukranian foreign minister, and William Hague, British foreign secretary, met with Secretary of State John Kerry, noting the absence of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who Kerry is expected to see later today at a scheduled bilateral meeting to resolve to crisis in Ukraine.

Despite the missing signatory, Deshchytsia said that Ukraine would be willing to consult with Russia, “bilaterally and multilaterally.”

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