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Crimea forces are not Russian, minister insists

Lavrov vowed to prevent bloodshed in Ukraine, including attacks against its own citizens.

“We will not allow bloodshed. We will not allow attempts against the lives and well-being of those who live in Ukraine and Russian citizens who live in Ukraine,” Lavrov told the news conference.

He also said it was up to the Crimean and Ukrainian authorities to grant international observers access.

Lavrov’s comments came as other top diplomats were meeting in Paris to try to find a solution to the crisis.

The envoys from Russia, Ukraine, the US, Britain and France were not necessarily all at the same table, but French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said everyone had been working non-stop for a diplomatic solution over tensions in Ukraine.

“We have a principle of firmness but at the same time of searching for dialogue,” Fabius said, as he stood alongside his Ukrainian counterpart, who was making his first trip abroad in the new post.

Andrey Deshchitsa, Ukraine’s foreign minister, said; “Today the Ukrainian future will be decided … We want to keep neighbourly relations with the Russian people. We want to settle this peacefully.”

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