Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters today that his country has “no plans” to send troops into Eastern Ukraine, thought by many to be the next area where Russia would seek to expand its military presence.
But he also said that after nearly five hours of huddling with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, there was “no common vision” on how Russia should de-escalate tensions in the region of Crimea, which will vote in a referendum Sunday on whether to formally join Russia, which controlled the region until 1954.
Speaking at a news conference after the long meeting at the U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom’s home, Lavrov said the Russians would respect the decision of the Crimean people.
“Our attitude towards the Crimea referendum results will be formulated when results are known,” Lavrov said.
Kerry said earlier this week in congressional hearings that the Crimeans are sure to vote to become part of Russia if the referendum proceeds.
Lavrov and Kerry gave their impressions of the meeting at separate news conferences today.