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Russia preparing counterproposals over Ukraine

KIEV, Ukraine — Russia said Monday it is drafting counterproposals to a U.S. plan for a negotiated solution to the Ukraine crisis, denouncing the new Western-backed government as an unacceptable "fait accompli" and claiming that Russian-leaning parts of Ukraine have been plunged into lawlessness.

Pro-Russia sentiment is high in Ukraine's east, and there are fears Russia could seek to incorporate that area as well.

The Kremlin moves came as Russian forces strengthened their control over Crimea, less than a week before the strategic region is to hold a contentious referendum on whether to leave Ukraine and become part of Russia.

In a televised briefing with President Vladimir Putin, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said proposals made by Secretary of State John Kerry are "not suitable" because they take "the situation created by the coup as a starting point," referring to the ouster of Ukraine's pro-Kremlin president, Viktor Yanukovych.

Referring to a document Lavrov received from Kerry explaining the U.S. view, Lavrov said, "To be frank, it raises many questions on our side."

"Everything was stated in terms of allegedly having a conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and in terms of accepting the fait accompli," he said.

State Department officials said that it was Russia's refusal to discuss the U.S. proposals that was hurting prospects for a negotiated solution. A department statement said Kerry reiterated demands that Moscow pull back its troops from Ukraine and end attempts to annex Crimea.

Russia preparing counterproposals over Ukraine 03/10/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 11, 2014 12:19am]
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