U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are scheduled to meet in Paris today to discuss the crisis in Ukraine.
Kerry met earlier today with British Foreign Secretary William Hague and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsia. While that meeting was not directly related to the Ukraine situation, it reaffirmed Ukraine's sovereignty.
The men are in Paris for a global conference.
The proposed meeting between Kerry and Lavrov comes one day after Russia test-launched a missile over the Caspian Sea. U.S. officials say the missile test had been planned well before the unfolding crisis in Ukraine, calling it “a previously notified and routine test launch of an ICBM.”
Politicians such as Arizona Sen. John McCain are skeptical.
“It’s time we woke up about Vladimir Putin. It’s time this [Obama] administration got real,” he said on the Senate floor Tuesday.
U.S. officials hope to ease tensions while firmly condemning Russia’s actions. Kerry’ presence in Europe and President Obama’ comments in Washington are sending the same decisive message: that Russia needs to de-escalate or face international pressure.
“Our partners will have absolutely no choice but to join us to continue to expand upon steps we have taken in recent days in order to isolate Russia politically, diplomatically and economically,” Kerry said Tuesday in Ukraine.
Kerry spent Tuesday walking the streets of Ukraine, meeting with political leaders and promising crowds that U.S. aid is on the way.
"It is not appropriate to invade a country, and at the end of a barrel of a gun dictate what you are trying to achieve,” he said. “That is not 21st century, G-8, major nation behavior.”
Putin held court earlier Tuesday in his personal residence, making his first public comments since Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych fled a week and a half ago. Putin’s overall message appeared to be one of de-escalation, though he tempered his comments by warning that Russia was willing to use “all means at our disposal” to protect ethnic Russians in the country.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.