Kerry meets Lavrov in London over the crisis in Ukraine
Lavrov, Kerry talks on Ukraine crisis fail
Russia and the West have "no common vision" on Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says, as there is still no agreement between the two sides on Ukraine following failed talks.
Lavrov made the comments on Friday at a press conference in London after a meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry, in which the two sides could not reach an agreement on the situation in Ukraine.
"We have no common vision of the situation (in Ukraine). Differences remain," said Lavrov.
The Russian minister added that Moscow would respect the will of the people in Ukraine’s autonomous region of Crimea in an upcoming secession referendum.
Tensions erupted between Western powers and Moscow after Ukraine’s Crimean authorities said they will hold a vote on March 16 on whether to break away from Ukraine and join Russia.
Lavrov said the upcoming referendum in Crimea complies with international law and argued that the region should be treated similarly to Kosovo, which declared its independence from Serbia in 2008.
The Russian minister said if Kosovo was a special case for the West, Crimea is also a special case for Russia.
The United States and the European Union, which support the new Ukrainian government, have rejected the Crimea vote as "illegal" and threatened Russia with sanctions over its stance on Ukraine.
Lavrov commented on the sanctions threat by the West, describing such measures as counterproductive.
The autonomous region of Crimea has become the flashpoint for tensions since former Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych, was ousted last month following three months of street protests and violent unrest in the capital Kiev and other cities.
Ukraine has been gripped by a political crisis since November 2013, when Yanukovych refrained from signing an Association Agreement with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia.