As the Crimea crisis simmers, a war of words rages.
US Secretary of State John Kerry is in France ahead of an anticipated meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.
But for now their countries remain worlds apart on recent events in Ukraine- and how best to resolve them.
At a press conference US President Barack Obama upped rhetoric, saying that that there’s a strong belief that Russia’s actions are violating international law.
He also noted the need for Ukraine and Russia to engage in direct talks:
“We have sent a clear message that we are prepared to work with anybody, if their genuine interest is making sure that Ukraine is able to govern itself. And, as indicated before, something I think is not an emphasised enough: They are currently scheduled to have elections in May.”
President Putin remains resolute that Russian armed forces aren’t operating in Crimea, despite their organisations and equipment, instead describing them as self defence units.
In his first televised address since the crisis began, he also said that as it stands Moscow wouldn’t recognise Ukraine’s upcoming elections set for May.
Putin also refused to rule out the use of force in the region, but stressed it would be a last resort.
NATO and Russia are set to hold talks on Ukraine in Brussels.