The risk of war in crisis-hit Ukraine was not averted last night even after a meeting in Paris between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry.
Moscow rebuffed Western demands to withdraw forces in Ukraine's Crimea region to their bases in a bid to ease tensions in the neighbouring country.
Nonetheless, Lavrov told journalists after his talks with Kerry that Moscow and Western powers agreed that the Ukrainian government and opposition need to stick to the EU-brokered peace deal.
Lavrov also said the two sides agreed to join efforts to help Ukraine to reach the agreement signed in Kiev on February 21.
At the same time, Russia's envoy to NATO accused the alliance of applying double standards and "Cold War" stereotypes to Moscow.
Alexander Grushko’s harsh statements in Brussels came after NATO announced a review of all cooperation with Moscow over tensions in Ukraine.