REFILE-Kerry says urged Russia to join US, allies in helping Ukraine

Thu Feb 27, 2014 2:59pm EST

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WASHINGTON Feb 27 (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday urged Russia to join the United States and allies to help stabilize Ukraine, and cautioned this was not the time for provocative actions.

Kerry said he had spoken to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov by phone on Thursday about tensions in Ukraine's Crimea region and Russian military forces on the border. Lavrov underscored that the military exercises were not related to Ukraine and had been previously scheduled, Kerry added.

"We believe that everybody now needs to step back and avoid any kind of provocations," Kerry said during a joint news conference with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

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