TIME Ukraine

Kerry Hints at Progress in Ukraine Talks

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

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry emerged from a meeting with Russia's top diplomat with a renewed sense of confidence there may be a diplomatic solution to the crisis engulfing Ukraine and Crimea. But the top American diplomat stressed the need for patience

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.

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