U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry landed in Sochi on Tuesday – his first trip to Russia since the Ukrainian crisis began – and is expected to meet with President Vladimir Putin.
Discussions are expected to focus on the fighting in Ukraine and the crises in Syria, Yemen, Libya, and Iran, according to the state department. The last time Kerry visited Russia was in 2013.
"This trip is part of our ongoing effort to maintain direct lines of communication with senior Russian officials and to ensure US views are clearly conveyed," state department spokesperson Marie Harf said in a statement
While Harf confirmed the meeting, Putin's spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, told a Russian radio station on Monday that no decision has been made about a meeting, according to The Guardian.
Kerry also met with Russia's foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov and the two laid flowers at the memorial for the victims of World War II in the Black Sea.
"We continue to underline that we are ready for cooperation with the US on the basis of equality, non-interference in internal affairs, and that Russian interests are taken into account without attempting to exert pressure on us," the foreign ministry said in a statement.
After Sochi, Kerry is expected to travel to Turkey where he will meet with NATO foreign ministers.
Mary Ann Georgantopoulos is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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