World News

Mar 12, 2014 11:16 AM by ASSOCIATED PRESS

Kerry to see Russian minister on hasty London trip


WASHINGTON (AP) - Secretary of State John Kerry says he will travel to London to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Friday in a last-ditch bid to avert a new crisis over Ukraine.

Kerry told Congress on Wednesday he will make the trip to try to calm rising East-West tensions ahead of a weekend referendum in Ukraine's Crimea region on whether to join Russia. Sunday's vote in the largely pro-Moscow peninsula is widely expected to endorse its secession from Ukraine. Western powers say they won't recognize the referendum because it violates Ukraine's constitution. Russia maintains it is a legitimate expression of the Crimean people's desire for self-determination.

Kerry has been unsuccessfully trying for more than a week to broker a meeting between Russian and Ukrainian and European diplomats to ease the situation.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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