Syria, Ukraine top agenda items in Kerry-Lavrov phone call

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke by phone Wednesday regarding the situations in Syria and Ukraine.
By JC Finley  |  May 30, 2014 at 11:47 AM
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WASHINGTON, May 30 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, on Wednesday regarding Syria and Ukraine.

During the phone call, the two men discussed the status of Syria's chemical weapons destruction and the delayed removal of the remaining 8 percent of CW material. The deadline for the removal of Syrian chemical weapons was April 27.

Kerry also expressed concern about the detention of OPCW inspectors inside Syria. On Tuesday, an OPCW inspection team was ambushed by improvised explosive devices and automatic weapons fire. None of the team members was seriously injured. Following the attack, some members were briefly detained by armed gunmen and later released.

Kerry and Lavrov also discussed the situation in Ukraine. Concerned about reports of foreign fighters, including Chechens, crossing into Ukraine from Russia, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said that Kerry urged Lavrov to withdraw Russian support for the separatists in eastern Ukraine, "denounce their actions, and call on them to lay down their arms." Kerry also encouraged Moscow to contact Ukraine's President-elect Petro Poroshenko and work toward de-escalation of the conflict.

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