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The profound and pervasive crisis in Ukraine is a matter of grave concern for Russia. We understand perfectly well the position of a country which became independent just over 20 years ago and still faces complex tasks in constructing a sovereign state. Among them is the search for a balance of interests among its various regions, the peoples of which have different historical and cultural roots, speak different languages and have different perspectives on their past and present, and their country's future place in the world.

Given these circumstances, the role of external forces should have been to help Ukrainians protect the foundations of civil peace and sustainable development, which are still fragile. Russia has done more than any other country to support the independent Ukrainian state, including for many years subsidising its economy through low energy prices. Last November, at the outset of the current crisis, we supported Kiev's wish for urgent consultations between Ukraine, Russia and the EU to discuss harmonising the integration process. Brussels flatly rejected it. This stand reflected the unproductive and dangerous line the EU and US have been taking for a long time. They have been trying to compel Ukraine to make a painful choice between east and west, further aggravating internal differences.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As far as I understand, you know about the progress of discussions at the Nuclear Security Summit (NNS). Final documents have been prepared, which will be published.

I would like to inform you about bilateral contacts. Today I had another meeting with the US Secretary of State John Kerry. We mainly talked about Ukraine. We highlighted again the need to fully respect the results of the referendum in Crimea. We talked about the need to take decisive measures to prevent atrocities by radicals and to include them in the political life of Ukraine. An agreement on this was reached on the 21 February, when President Viktor Yanukovych and the Opposition in the presence of three EU foreign ministers signed an agreement. This should not be dependent on any other conditions: there is no place for radicals in modern society. We also discussed the need to appeal to the Ukrainian authorities, formed by the Verkhovna Rada, to devote the most serious attention to the constitutional reform, which takes into account the interests of every Ukrainian region and fully reflects these interests in the state order.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We had an intensive day of negotiations with the US Secretary of State, John Kerry. We reviewed the situation in Ukraine in detail. We and our American partners are worried about this situation. We stated our well-known position with regard to the events, and its causes, and the measures which must be undertaken by the international community in order to help start a comprehensive national dialogue. Its aim should be one of overcoming the deep split in the society and establishing a constitutional reform which we agree takes into account the interests of all Ukrainian regions.

Vladimir Putin had a working meeting with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who briefed him on the proposals for settling the situation in Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin: Mr Lavrov, I wanted to hear about the results of your contacts with your colleagues, your US and European colleagues, about the situation in Ukraine. I asked you, in response to the US request, to invite [US] Secretary of State Mr Kerry, who wanted to come to

Sergey Lavrov: Mr President, as you instructed, the contacts are continuing. We had contacts throughout the last week in Europe. A series of international events took place there, in which John Kerry, the foreign ministers of the main European countries – France, Britain, Germany, Italy, Spain – and the

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We have held a session of the Committee for the Russian-Polish Cooperation Strategy, where we reviewed main areas of our bilateral interaction. Representatives of ministries and agencies of the two countries dealing with issues of trade, economic and investment cooperation, development of cultural, humanitarian and educational ties participated in the session.

We consider this format to be rather effective, and we are delighted to report that our work resulted in the signature (in front of your eyes) of the Programme 2020 in Russian-Polish relations.

Ladies and Gentlemen, We have conducted negotiations with Edward Nalbandian and our colleagues, which we view as one of the key stages of preparation for the forthcoming visit of the President Vladimir Putin to the Republic of Armenia at the beginning of December. We discussed the implementation of the agreements, which were reached at the Moscow meeting of the two presidents on the 3 September.

I would like to add my voice to express my warmest greetings to the participants and guests of the conference dedicated to 185 years of accession to office by the first Greek President and the establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries.

Russia and Greece are united by old traditions of friendship and cooperation. The closeness and mutual attraction between our people have a deep rooted world view, and are based on joint spirituality and similar cultural and civilisational traits. By and large, this has predetermined the mutual entanglement of the historical fates of people from these two countries, which are certainly reflected in personal biographies.

Question: How was your meeting with the US Secretary of State John Kerry?

Sergey Lavrov: The meeting was dedicated to many issues. The main issue was the situation in Syria, primarily from the perspective of the preparation of a decision of the Executive Council of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and a UNSC resolution in support of the OPCW document regarding the actions, which should be undertaken to eliminate chemical weapons in Syria. Both the Russian party and the American party highlighted that all the chemical weapons available in Syria should be liquidated, because there are serious threats and evidence that the opposition may have individual components of these hazardous materials.

Minister Lavrov, thank you so much for taking the time. It’s a pleasure to speak with you. We are doing a special issue of Foreign Policy magazine that will come out in May and dedicated to power in all of its manifestations, so this is a perfect chance to have a conversation with you. And I appreciate you taking the time. Well, first of all, we are interested in Russian-American relations. And I’m wondering if you could give me a sense of what you think comes after the reset. I know it was not your word.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today we have had an intensive negotiation day related to the visit of US Secretary of State John Kerry to the Russian Federation. We had a long, rather specific and productive meeting with the President of the Russian Federation in Kremlin. Vladimir Putin has confirmed that he attentively studied the recent message of the US President Barack Obama and a reply is being prepared to it, which will soon be transferred to Washington. The President has emphasized that he is waiting for the meeting with Barack Obama within the framework of the summit of the Group of Eight, which will be held in the Northern Ireland, then we are waiting for the visit of the US President to the Russian Federation.