Russia, Tightening Crimea Hold, Seeks to Undo Kiev ‘Coup’

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from The New York Times,

Russia said Monday that it cannot accept the “fait accompli” of the new Western-backed government in Ukraine and was preparing diplomatic counterproposals to serve “the interests of all Ukrainians,” even as Russian forces strengthened their control over Crimea, less than a week before a contentious referendum on the future of that southern Ukrainian region.

The Russian position came in a televised clip showing Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov briefing President Vladimir V. Putin in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, the site of the Winter Olympic and Paralympic games.

Mr. Lavrov said that proposals made by Secretary of State John Kerry “did not completely satisfy us” because they used “the situation created by the coup as a starting point.” He told Mr. Putin that Mr. Kerry had delayed a visit to Moscow and that Russia was working on new proposals of its own.

But in Washington, State Department officials said that it was the Kremlin that had thwarted the prospects of a negotiated solution, or even another meeting between Mr. Kerry and his Russian counterpart, by refusing to engage on the American proposals, especially the idea that Russian officials meet with officials from the new Ukrainian government.

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