Secretary of State John Kerry has ruled out meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin for talks on the Ukraine unless Russia unilaterally agrees to all US demands before the meeting.
Kerry said any talks would be “extremely difficult” so long as Russia backs Crimea, and other State Department officials say there will be “little to discuss” if Russia doesn’t force Crimea to halt its weekend referendum.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry says the Crimean referendum is absolutely legal, and that Russia will respect the results of the vote. The US has said it will never accept the results.
The White House also issued a new statement on their ongoing deployment of a single ship to the Black Sea, saying Russia needs to “take note” of the deployment as proof of US military commitment to the region.