Kerry to Meet Putin in Russia

Kerry to Meet Putin in RussiaKerry to Meet Putin in Russia

US Secretary of State John Kerry flies to Russia to meet with President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov for their first direct talks after two years filled with tension over Ukraine and other conflicts.

Putin plans to receive Kerry on Tuesday in Sochi, the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics, the US State Department announced on Monday. The three men are to discuss the situation in Ukraine, Yemen, Iraq and Syria, Bloomberg said in a report.

“This trip is part of our ongoing effort to maintain direct lines of communication with senior Russian officials and to ensure US views are clearly conveyed,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a written statement.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said that Moscow is ready for the dialogue with Washington.

Russia is “open for cooperation [with the US] on the basis of equality, non-interference in internal affairs, and taking Russian interests into account without attempts to pressure us,” the ministry said in a statement.

Earlier, RIA Novosti news agency quoted a Russian diplomatic source as saying that Kerry’s arrival was “very symbolic,” since the top US diplomat had canceled the trip several times.

Last time Putin and his American counterpart Barack Obama met was at the G20 summit in Australian Brisbane in 2014. The US president also declined Kremlin’s invitation to attend the May 9 celebrations in Moscow.