High-level diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis in Ukraine failed to make much headway at talks in Paris on Wednesday with Moscow and Washington unable to see eye to eye and Russia refusing to recognize the interim Ukrainian government.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says talks will continue in an attempt to de-escalate the crisis and he expected to meet his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov again in Rome on Thursday.
Calling Wednesday's talks the beginning of a negotiation, Kerry said he would have something concrete to take back to President Obama at the end of the week.
U.S. officials say Kerry had presented Lavrov with a plan of steps for restoring Ukraine's sovereignty while answering Moscow's concerns about its Black Sea fleet and the many ethic Russians that live in eastern Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the European Union has unveiled a package of aid and grants to Ukraine's new government worth some 15 billion U.S. dollars over the next couple of years.