Belbek Ukraine March 04 2014Russian soldiers control Belbek airfield in CrimeaIn a graphic illustration of the standoff and its potential hazards, Russian troops on Tuesday fired warning shots in the air as approximately 200 unarmed Ukrainian soldiers approached Russian positions on the perimeter of the contested Belbek airfield in Crimea to press demands to return to their positions there and conduct joint patrols.
Russian soldiers at the contested Belbek airfield in Crimea on March 4, 2014 Yuri Kozyrev—NOOR for TIME

Kerry Hints at Progress in Ukraine Talks

Mar 05, 2014

Secretary of State John Kerry hinted on Wednesday that the crisis in Ukraine might be inching closer to a diplomatic resolution after he met with Russia's top diplomat.

“We agreed today, both sides and the Ukrainians also, that we are all better served if this can be resolved through dialogue,” Kerry told reporters in Paris after meeting there with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

“Ukraine’s territorial integrity must be restored and must be respected," Kerry said.

While signaling that progress may have been made, Kerry cautioned that no one expected “that we were suddenly going to resolve [the Ukraine crisis] this afternoon."

“I want us to be realistic,” he said. “This is hard, tough stuff.”

Kerry's comments came after his first meeting with Lavrov since Russian forces sparked an international crisis by seizing control of the Crimea region of Ukraine last week.

The Big Khan Mosque in Bakhchysaray, Crimea, March 6, 2014.
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The Big Khan Mosque in Bakhchysaray, Crimea, March 6, 2014.Yuri Kozyrev—NOOR for TIME
The Big Khan Mosque in Bakhchysaray, Crimea, March 6, 2014.
Ethnic Crimean Tatars pray at The Big Khan Mosque in Bakhchysaray, March 6, 2014.
Locals talk to the Russian soldiers near Ukrainian military base in Perevalnoye, Crimea, March 6, 2014.
Pro-Russian demonstrators rally in front of the local parliament building in Crimea's capital Simferopol, March 6, 2014.
Cossacks and Ukrainian police detain feminist protesters who interrupted a pro-Russian rally with shouts of “Stop Putin’s war” in Simferopol, Crimea, March 6, 2014.
Man watches a pro-Russian rally near the local parliament building in Crimea's capital Simferopol, March 6, 2014.
Pro-Russian gathering in Yevpatoria, Ukraine, March 5, 2014.
People at a pro-Russian gathering in Yevpatoria, Ukraine, March 5, 2014.
Woman watches a pro-Russian gathering in Yevpatoria, Ukraine, March 5, 2014.
Ukrainian officers on guard at the Belbek air force base, outside Sevastopol, March 4, 2014.
Unarmed Ukrainian soldiers, carrying a Soviet air-regiment banner, approach Russian positions on the perimeter of the contested Belbek air-force base in Crimea, Ukraine, on March 4, 2014.
Unarmed Ukrainian soldiers approach Russian positions on the perimeter of the contested Belbek air force base in Crimea, March 4, 2014.
Ukrainian soldiers at the Belbek air force base in Crimea, March 4, 2014.
Ukrainian sailors, on a ship blocked by Russian forces, spoke to their relatives at the port of Sevastopol, March 4, 2014.
Russian soldiers speak to a family near the Ukrainian military base in Bakhchysaray, Crimea, March 3, 2014.
Sailors stand on board the Ukrainian navy corvette Ternopil at harbor of Sevastopol, March 3, 2014.
A Ukrainian woman reacts as troops in unmarked uniforms hold positions in Perevalnoye, a small Ukrainian base roughly 15 miles south of Simferopol on Sunday, March 2, 2014. About two dozen Ukrainian soldiers could be seen behind her.
Troops stand guard near the base in Perevalnoye on Sunday. Hundreds of soldiers in unmarked uniforms surrounded the base, using vehicles with Russian license plates.
A priest stands next to troops in Perevalnoye on Sunday.
Members of a pro-Russian group stationed themselves in front of government buildings and a statue of Lenin in Simferopol on Sunday.
Members of a pro- Russian group raise a Russian flag in front of a military base in Simferopol on Sunday.
Troops in unmarked uniforms stand guard in Balaklava on the outskirts of Sevastopol, Ukraine, Saturday, March 1, 2014.
A woman waves a Russian flag as armed servicemen wait near Russian army vehicles outside a Ukrainian border guard post in the Crimean town of Balaclava, March 1, 2014.
Armed servicemen wait in Russian army vehicles in the Crimean town of Balaclava
A flag of the Russian Navy hangs from a tree as policemen stand guard in front of the local parliament building on Feb. 28, 2014 in Simferopol.
Pro-Russian supporters rally outside the Crimean parliament building on Feb. 28, 2014 in Simferopol.
Soldiers, who were wearing no identifying insignia and declined to say whether they were Russian or Ukrainian, patrol outside the Simferopol International Airport after a pro-Russian crowd had gathered on Feb. 28, 2014.
The gunmen wearing similar military uniforms without markings leave the scene by military trucks after captured the airport in the capital of Ukraine's Crimea region, Simferopol on Feb. 28, 2014.
Russian troops block the road way towards the military airport at the Black Sea port of Sevastopol in Crimea, Feb. 28, 2014.
Sheep graze next to an old election sign on a road from Simferopol to Sevastopol reads "Yanukovych is the hope of Crimea", Feb. 27, 2014.
A Pro-Russian demonstrator waves Russian and Crimea flags atop an old Soviet Army tank during a protest in front of a local government building in Simferopol, Feb. 27, 2014.
People carry a giant Russian flag during a pro-Russian rally in Simferopol, Feb. 27, 2014.
Men stand during a pro-Russian rally outside the Crimean parliament building in Simferopol, Feb. 27, 2014.
Barricades block the entrance to government buildings in Simferopol, Crimea, with a banner that reads "Crimea Russia," Feb. 27, 2014.
A Ukrainian man walks away after being injured in a stampede during clashes at rallies held by ethnic Russians and Crimean Tatars near the Crimean parliament building in Simferopol, Feb. 26, 2014.
Ukrainian men help pull one another out of a stampede beneath a flag of Crimea during clashes at rallies held by ethnic Russians and Crimean Tatars near the Crimean parliament building in Simferopol Feb. 26, 2014.
Ukrainian and Russian supporters clash during a protest near the Parliament building in Simferopol, Feb. 26, 2014.
Pro-Russian activists pray near the Crimean Parliament building in Simferopol, Feb. 26, 2014.
Crimean Tatars hold flags during rallies near the Crimean parliament building in Simferopol, Feb. 26, 2014.
Ukrainian police officers guard local government building during a protest in Simferopol, Feb. 26, 2014.
The Big Khan Mosque in Bakhchysaray, Crimea, March 6, 2014.
Yuri Kozyrev—NOOR for TIME
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