US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Russia, on Tuesday to discuss Ukraine and other issues, the United States said on Monday in a statement that made no mention of their deep disagreements.
Relations between Russia and the West are at their lowest ebb since the end of the Cold War because of Moscow’s March 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and its backing for pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine. The West has imposed economic sanctions on Russia, triggering retaliatory measures by Moscow.
The US State Department announced the talks and indirectly alluded to the disagreements, saying the trip aimed “to maintain direct lines of communication with senior Russian officials and to ensure US views are clearly conveyed.”
The two sides plan to discuss Syria, where they disagree on how to end the civil war engulfing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and Iran, where they are seeking an agreement to curb Tehran’s nuclear program by June 30, the State Department said.
The Russian foreign ministry also announced Kerry’s visit to the Black Sea resort but said nothing about his meeting Putin, saying he would see Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and blaming Washington for many global problems.