The EU’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and US Secretary of State John Kerry have met in Geneva ahead of crisis talks on the critical situation in Ukraine.
The prospects of significant progress appears difficult, however the fact that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will face his Ukrainian counterpart Andrii Deshchytsia gives some grounds for optimism.
Russia does not recognise the interim government in Kyiv.
The US administration has been preparing further sanctions against Moscow as Ukraine struggles to contain a pro-Russian uprising in the east of the country. Washington has called for armed separatist groups to stand down and disarm.
Moscow has accused the US of supporting “a war Kyiv has declared against its own people” and for defending the overthrow of a legitimate government in the country following the removal of Viktor Yanukovych from power.