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Official Statements 2014

From Senior State Department Official: Readout of Secretary Kerry's Call with Foreign Minister Lavrov

March 16, 2014

State Department Press Corps,

The following is attributable to a Senior State Department Official:

During a phone call with Foreign Minister Lavrov this morning, Secretary Kerry reaffirmed that the United States considers the ongoing referendum illegal under Ukrainian law and restated that the United States will not recognize the outcome.  He raised strong concerns about the Russian military activities in Kherson oblast yesterday and about the continuing provocations in eastern cities in Ukraine.  Secretary Kerry also called the Foreign Minister's attention to actions taken by the government of Ukraine to arrest those responsible for violence in Kharkiv and steps taken to implement the demobilization and disarmament of irregular forces. 

Further to discussions that the United States has had with Russia, our European partners and the government of Ukraine, Secretary Kerry also drew attention to the broad multi-party constitutional reform process already underway in the Ukrainian Rada.  He urged Russia to support efforts by Ukrainians across the spectrum to address power sharing and decentralization through a constitutional reform process that is broadly inclusive and protects the rights of minorities.  The Secretary made clear that this crisis can only be resolved politically and that as Ukrainians take the necessary political measures going forward, Russia must reciprocate by pulling forces back to base, and addressing the tensions and concerns about military engagement.