Secretary of State Kerry Meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov

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( — May 11, 2015)  — US Secretary of State John Kerry is planning his trip to Sochi on Tuesday where he is expected to meet with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Russia Today reported. 

Whether Kerry will be meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin has not yet been officially confirmed, but the Kremlin has not ruled out the possibility. 

The trip has been confirmed by US and Russian officials, RT reported. Reportedly, the topic of the meeting is the current situation in Ukraine, as well as in Yemen, Syria and Iraq.

“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.

According to Russia’s Foreign Ministry, Moscow is ready for the dialogue with Washington, however, minister Lavrov expects the talks to be based on equality, not pressure. Western media has presented the trip to Sochi as an attempt to persuade Putin to change his policies toward the Ukraine.

“We’re going to press upon the Russians that now is the time for them to really make an 180-degree turn on their support for the regime given what’s happening on the ground,” the Wall Street Journal quoted US officials.

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 Russian 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.

Kerry has not been to Russia since May 2013, long before the revolution and subsequent Russian intervention in Ukraine began, the Guardian reported, adding that the conflict has “caused the biggest crisis in relations between Russia and the west since the cold war.”

Russia believes that the US is meddling in Ukraine, while Washington has pointed to mounting evidence of Russian military involvement in the east of the country.

The Kremlin didn’t immediately confirm the meeting with Mr. Putin, however, a spokesman had said last week that meeting is possible, Russian media reported.