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US declines Putin Ukraine meeting

A meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin will not happen until Moscow engages with US proposals to tackle the crisis in Ukraine, US Secretary of State John Kerry has said.

Mr Kerry told his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov that Moscow’s military intervention in Crimea had made any negotiations extremely difficult.

US officials say there will be little to talk about if the referendum on Crimea’s future goes ahead.

The referendum is to be held on Sunday.

Ukraine and the the West say that the vote is illegal.

Russia said on Monday it was drafting counter-proposals to a US plan for a negotiated solution to the crisis.

Moscow has condemned Ukraine’s new Western-backed government as an unacceptable “fait accompli” – it says that Russian-leaning parts of the country have been turned into havens of lawlessness.

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