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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine-US Update

Putin calls Obama as two discuss Ukraine; Kerry and Lavrov met Sunday evening in Paris. Russian President Vladimir Putin called President Barack Obama on March 28 to discuss a possible diplomatic resolution to the crisis in Ukraine, the White House said. Obama has asked for a written response from Putin to a plan that Kerry presented to Lavrov in The Hague last week, according to a White House statement. Just hours after Obama and Putin spoke, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russia has no intention to or interest in crossing the Ukrainian border. US Secretary of State John Kerry and Lavrov met Sunday to discuss a diplomatic proposal the two sides have been reviewing in recent weeks. Russia, the US and EU nations are moving toward a joint initiative that may be submitted to Ukraine, Lavrov said in comments published on his ministry’s website. Russia wants Ukraine to grant greater powers to its regions, have a non-aligned status outside NATO and make Russian a second official language, he said.

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