Kerry to Meet with Putin, Lavrov on Syria, Ukraine – Voice of America

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is due in Moscow Wednesday for talks on Syria with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Syria and Ukraine are expected to top the agenda. The State Department says the visit was arranged after President Putin announced last week that Russia is partially withdrawing its military forces from Syria.

The State Department says Kerry and Russian officials will discuss how to ensure that the cessation of hostilities continues in Syria, provide humanitarian aid, and improve and expand access for humanitarian workers. They will also discuss how to facilitate a political transition in Syria and how to defeat Islamic State militants.

On Ukraine, Kerry is expected to urge Russia to do more to press pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine to respect the cease-fire established last month.

Kerry is also expected to call on Russia to free Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko, who was sentenced Tuesday to 22 years in prison on charges of complicity to murder. The United States says those charges are false.

Savchenko was convicted of complicity in the 2014 murder of two Russian journalists covering the war in east Ukraine, by directing artillery fire that led to their deaths in the Lugansk area of eastern Ukraine.

Savchenko says cell phone records prove she was captured by pro-Moscow militants before the journalists were killed.


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