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Top U.S., Russian diplomats hold talks on Ukraine Updated: 2014-03-31 12:02:23 KST

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, discussed ways to resolve the Ukraine crisis during talks in Paris on Sunday, but the two men parted ways without any agreement in place.

"In a frank conversation this evening with Foreign Minister Lavrov, I made clear that the U.S. still considers the Russian actions to be illegal and illegitimate Russia's actions over the past several weeks have placed it at odds, obviously, with the rule of law and the international community."

After four hours of talks, both sides recognized the importance of finding a diplomatic solution that meets the needs of the Ukrainian people.
But they agreed on little else.
Lavrov repeated that Russia has no plans to invade Ukraine, and said he and Kerry had discussed setting up a neutral, federal government in Ukraine.

"All political forces in Ukraine will have an equal voice and can agree on which kind of concrete political, economic, financial, social, religious tranditions will be respected in different parts of the country so that it becomes united and represents all the values of the Ukrainian people."

Ukrainian officials are hesitant to decentralize power.
They fear that doing so would give more power to pro-Russia regions, something that could harm its aspirations to be a greater part of Europe and potentially tear the country apart.
The Kerry-Lavrov meeting in Paris came days before NATO foreign ministers meet in Brussels on Tuesday and Wednesday, where talks are likely to center on Russia and its actions in Crimea and Ukraine.
Ji Myung-kil, Arirang News.
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