Newsline: Top US diplomat meets Russia’s Putin amid tensions

Diplomatic Briefing

John Kerry, the US secretary of state, has met the Russian President Vladimir Putin in a bid to ease strained relations over the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria. On his first trip to Russia since the Ukraine crisis began, Kerry held more than four hours of talks with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at a hotel in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, before seeing Putin on Tuesday at his presidential residence in the city. Putin is in Sochi meeting with Russian defence officials for a week. Kerry’s trip comes as relations between Washington and Moscow have plummeted to post-Cold War lows amid the disagreements over Ukraine and Syria. In a sign of the considerable strain, the Kremlin would not confirm Kerry’s meeting with Putin until just an hour before he arrived in Sochi, a full day after US officials had announced it. Russia’s Foreign Ministry had previewed the talks…

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