By Rebecca Shabad - 03/20/14 12:38 PM EDT
Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday he might meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at this year’s nuclear summit at The Hague next week.
At a joint press conference in Washington with Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak, Kerry was asked what would happen if Russia invades eastern Ukraine.
“We’re going to be – have a chance to talk about all of this in the next couple of days as we go to Europe for the meetings in The Hague,” Kerry said. “And I will be, I think, meeting on the side of that with the foreign minister of Russia.”
Kerry and Lavrov have stayed in touch by phone since that meeting, and last spoke on Tuesday. Kerry emphasized to Lavrov that Russia’s steps are “illegal” and “unacceptable,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
Kerry and President Obama will attend the nuclear summit, which takes place March 24-25 at The Hague in the Netherlands.
Obama will meet with other leaders of the G-7 alliance—Japan, Italy, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Canada—to discuss the crisis between Russia and Ukraine.
Putin had originally been scheduled to attend the summit, but Lavrov is now going in his place, according to a list of attending leaders released Thursday.