Lavrov downplays prospects for second Ukraine conference
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov yesterday downplayed prospects for a second Geneva peace conference on Ukraine, calling instead for a joint East-West push for national dialogue.
Lavrov said such a gathering would achieve little as long as an April 17 agreement from the first Geneva talks has not been implemented, and while separatists are excluded from the process.
US official slams Russia's 'wilful violation' of Ukraine
Afp, Hong Kong
Russia's "wilful violation" of Ukraine's sovereignty has global implications and has hindered its ability to help develop the Asia-Pacific region, a senior US official said yesterday.
The United States has fiercely criticised Russia for the annexation, and for what it describes as Moscow's support for pro-Russian separatists who have occupied key buildings in eastern Ukraine.
Russia to reinforce Crimea fleet
Russia plans to reinforce its Black Sea Fleet based in Crimea, which it annexed from Ukraine in March, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said yesterday.
New air defence units will also be opened at the fleet's bases, the minister said.
British Foreign Minister William Hague accused Russia of trying to disrupt Ukraine's planned presidential election, as he arrived yesterday for a Council of Europe meeting due to focus on the Ukraine crisis.
Ukraine's presidential election is set to take place on May 25 but Moscow has called the vote "absurd", while separatists in Ukraine are preparing their own independence referendum on Sunday.
'Chaos and risk of civil war' if no Ukraine vote: Hollande
French President Francois Hollande warned yesterday that Ukraine risked descending into chaos and civil war if the presidential election planned for May 25 is not held.
He said it was in Moscow's interests for the vote to take place "because it does not want to be seen as a country that wants to prevent another country, in this case Ukraine, from voting."