January 30, 2015 / 7:07 AM / 5 years ago

Moscow, Washington discuss possible Kerry visit to Russia: sources

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a press conference at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London January 22, 2015. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Moscow and Washington are discussing a possible visit to Russia by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to discuss the Ukraine crisis, diplomatic sources say.

It would be Kerry’s first visit to Russia since the start of the conflict in Ukraine, during which ties between Washington and Moscow have plunged to their worst level since the Cold War.

“Talks (on arranging a Kerry visit) have been going on for weeks,” one diplomatic source told Reuters, adding that the visit could take place “in the coming days or weeks.”

Russian newspaper Kommersant quoted unnamed sources on Friday as saying Kerry would visit Moscow for talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Feb. 4-5.

The United States and the European Union have imposed sanctions in Russia over its annexation of the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine and its support for separatists fighting government forces in eastern Ukraine. The EU decided to extend is current sanctions on Thursday.

Washington accuses Russia of sending troops and weapons to eastern Ukraine, a charge which Moscow denies. Russia says the West was behind the overthrow of a Ukrainian president backed by Moscow, an accusation denied by Washington and Brussels.

Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska, Editing by Timothy Heritage

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