Kerry to discuss regional issues with Putin ahead of NATO meeting

US Secretary of State to hold talks with Russian president in Sochi to discuss Ukraine in particular and other regional issues like Iran and Syria in general

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday travelled to Russia where he is scheduled to discuss with the Russian top authorities on Tuesday the civil wars in Ukraine and Syria as well as Iranian nuclear issue, the US State Department has announced.

The State Department said Kerry will meet with the Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Sochi on Tuesday ahead of the NATO ministerial meeting on Wednesday in Turkey.

"This trip is part of our ongoing effort to maintain direct lines of communication with senior Russian officials and to ensure US views are clearly conveyed," the US State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said in statement on Monday.

The meeting between US and Russian top officials will be focused mainly on the Ukraine crisis for which the US and NATO allies have long been accusing Moscow of its support for separatists in the Donbass region.

Since Moscow annexed Crimea and gave its military and political support to the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics inside Ukraine, the relations between Russia and the West had undergone to the level of Cold War era.

For the current level of the relations, the Kremlin blames the US administration while the Euro-Atlantic alliance raised concerns over Moscow’s recent military presence towards Eastern Europe.

"Russia-US relations are undergoing difficult times caused by Washington’s purposeful unfriendly actions," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

Russia and the West seem to abide by a ceasefire agreement sealed in Minsk on Feb. 12 under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), but the Kiev leadership still suspects that Moscow might still be supporting the separatists in east Ukraine.

The Ukraine civil war caused death of 6,100 people since April in last year according to the UN figures, but the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced at the weekend that the death toll in Ukraine was at least 7,000 civilians in one year of conflict.

As the relations soured with the West, Russia turned its face to Eurasia and China soon after the economic sanctions imposed by the US and the EU in the wake of the Ukraine crisis.

The Kremlin organised a military parade devoted to commemoration of the 70th anniversary of Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in the Second World War in Moscow at the weekend, to which most of the Western leaders skipped to attend while Chinese and some other leaders from the post-Soviet space attended.

The Russian Foreign Ministry also announced that John Kerry will visit the Russian riviera on the Black Sea shore for a meeting with Putin and Lavrov, but did not explain the content of the meeting.

Since the Geneva talks the US and Russia have also been clashing over the ongoing Syrian crisis for which the parties could not have converged on how to end the civil war engulfing the Bashar al Assad regime in Damascus.  

Russia has so far supported Assad regime together with Iran whereas the US and other Western allies together with the Gulf Arab dynasties have long been insisting the regime change in Syria.

The UN and London-based Syrian observatory for Human Rights announced last month that at least 220,000 people have been killed in the four years of conflict.

Iran nuclear prıgramme is also expected to be discussed in the meeting of Kerry,Putin, and Lavrov in Sochi on which the parties have reached a preliminary framework deal in the Swiss town of Lausanne in early April.

The West and Russia-China bloc, dubbed P5 +1, are seeking to reach a final agreement with Iran at last on June 30 to curb Iran’s long-disputed nuclear programme.

Secretary Kerry will travel to Turkey after his meeting in Sochi for the NATO ministerial meeting in Antalya on Wednesday.

The NATO foreign ministers will deal with the aforementioned issues, most notably they will discuss recent developments in Ukraine and other security issues in and around Europe.

The Ukraine’s possible membership in the alliance is also expected to be negotiated in the meeting during which members will meet separately with their Ukrainian counterpart Pavlo Klimkin, according to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko reiterated at the weekend that the NATO membership had become a requise for Ukraine since the country changed its non-aligned status at the end of last year.

TRTWorld and agencies