Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday warned Kiev against using force to quell pro-Moscow separatists in eastern Ukraine, saying the "criminal" act would undermine talks planned in Geneva.
The four-way meeting set for Thursday involving top diplomats from Russia, Ukraine, the United States and the European Union is the latest step in a flurry of diplomacy aimed at easing the worst European security crisis in decades.
"One cannot issue invitations to talks while at the same time issuing criminal orders for the use of armed force against the people there," Lavrov said during a visit to Beijing.
"You can't send in tanks and at the same time hold talks, and the use of force would sabotage the opportunity offered by the four-party negotiations in Geneva," he said.
US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland earlier played down US expectations for the summit, although she maintained that "it is very important to keep that diplomatic door open and will see what they bring".
15 April 2014
Claiming that using force to eject illegal Russians from their sovereign buildings would be a 'criminal' use of force, Russia's foreign minister sounds more like a moron every day.
Posted by Brant at 12:18