LONDON (AP) — Now that the top U.S. and Russian diplomats have failed to find common ground about Ukraine, all eyes are on the vote coming up Sunday in Crimea -- where residents will decide if they want to separate from Ukraine.
Crimea, which is now under the control of Russian-backed forces, has a majority Russian population. And it's expected to vote to leave Ukraine and join Russia.
Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking after today's talks in London, said if Russia ratifies that action, it would be the same as an "annexation" of Crimea. He says the U.S. and the rest of the world won't recognize such a vote.
Following today's six hours of talks with Kerry, Russia's foreign minister said Russian President Vladimir Putin won't make any decision about what to do with Crimea until after Sunday's vote.
The U.S. and EU say the Crimean vote violates Ukraine's constitution and international law. If Crimea votes to secede, the U.S. and European Union plan to slap sanctions as early as Monday on Russian officials and businesses accused of escalating the crisis and undermining Ukraine's new government.
201-a-08-(Jay Carney, White House press secretary, at news conference)-"rather than de-escalates"-White House press secretary Jay Carney says Russia is unfortunately on course to pay an escalating price for its actions in Ukraine. (14 Mar 2014)
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200-a-14-(Jay Carney, White House press secretary, at news conference)-"that is regrettable"-White House press secretary Jay Carney says the outcome of today's talks in London is a disappointment. (14 Mar 2014)
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176-a-10-(Secretary of State John Kerry, at news conference after meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (SEHR'-gay LAHV'-rahf))-"annexation of Crimea"-Secretary of State John Kerry says Russia should think carefully about how it handles the outcome of Sunday's referendum. (14 Mar 2014)
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APPHOTO XAZ102: Unmarked APCs stand at a check point near Chongar, Crimea, Ukraine, Friday, March 14, 2014. Russian troops have secured control of Crimea, which is set to hold a referendum on joining Russia on Sunday. (AP Photo/Andrei Udovichenko) (14 Mar 2014)
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