Ukraine FM: ‘high chance’ of meeting Lavrov
Ukraine’s FM Andriy Deshchytsya hopes to meet his Russian counterpart to find ‘peaceful’ ways to solve the conflict on Crimea
Ukraine’s interim Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsya said on Monday there was a “high chance” he would meet his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of a nuclear security summit.
“I am hopefully meeting my Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov to discuss how we can peacefully resolve the conflict,” Agence France-Presse quoted Deshchytsya as telling journalists in The Hague after Russia absorbed Ukraine’s Crimea region.
A Russian diplomatic source also said on Monday that Lavrov will meet Deshchytsya on the sidelines of the nuclear security summit which will run through Tuesday.
The source cited by Russian news agencies RIA and Interfax said the Ukrainian delegation had asked for the meeting.
Russia redraws map
While Russia annexing Crimea has not been internationally recognized, Moscow on Monday already redrew its official maps to include the peninsula, Agence France-Presse reported.
Maps on the Kremlin and government websites include Crimea, describing it as the “youngest region of Russia.”
Russia’s absorption of Crimea has drawn international condemnation and sparked the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War.
Russian troops have seized Ukrainian military bases on the mostly Russian-speaking region of two million people since a March 16 independence referendum.
Several of Russia’s most popular websites including the main search engine, Yandex.ru, have also changed their maps.
But on a parallel site for Ukrainian users, Yandex.ua, it continued to show Crimea as part of Ukraine.
Yandex, which is based in Moscow, wrote on its official blog last week that “maps will be different for different countries. That is Crimea will be shown according to the official position of each country.”
Yandex said it would also change the way it presented news, with stories about Crimea being classed as domestic news for readers based in Russia.
The Russian language version of Google shows Crimea with a dashed border line, used for “disputed” boundaries.
Russia’s biggest Internet company, Mail.ru, was one of the first sites to change Crimea to part of Russia on March 21, the day that President Vladimir Putin signed the agreement absorbing the peninsula.
Russia’s television channels have for several days included Crimean towns in their national weather broadcasts.
One Russian bank used the change as an advertising opportunity, covering the side of a building in central Moscow with a map of Crimea and the slogan “Russia and Crimea together forever.”
No Sochi, G7 in Brussels
Meanwhile, G7 leaders on Monday decided to exclude Russia from the next summit of richest nations as punishment for absorbing Crimea, European President Herman van Rompuy said.
Leaders at crisis talks called by U.S. President Barack Obama in The Hague agreed not to attend a G8 meeting in Sochi in June and instead meet without Russia in Brussels, Van Rompuy said in a tweet.
(With Reuters and AFP)