Diplomats Meet on Ukraine

European Union Offers $15B Aid Package

  • From left, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, French President Francois Hollande, Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, talk together during a break of a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Top diplomats from the West and Russia trying to find an end to the crisis in Ukraine are gathering in Paris on Wednesday as tensions simmered over the Russian military takeover of the strategic Crimean Peninsula. (AP Photo/Alain Jocard, Pool)

    From left, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, French President Francois Hollande, Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, talk together during a break of a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Top diplomats from the West and Russia trying to find an end to the crisis in Ukraine are gathering in Paris on Wednesday as tensions simmered over the Russian military takeover of the strategic Crimean Peninsula. (AP Photo/Alain Jocard, Pool)

  • From left, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, French President Francois Hollande, Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, talk together during a break of a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Top diplomats from the West and Russia trying to find an end to the crisis in Ukraine are gathering in Paris on Wednesday as tensions simmered over the Russian military takeover of the strategic Crimean Peninsula. (AP Photo/Alain Jocard, Pool)

    From left, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, French President Francois Hollande, Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, talk together during a break of a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Top diplomats from the West and Russia trying to find an end to the crisis in Ukraine are gathering in Paris on Wednesday as tensions simmered over the Russian military takeover of the strategic Crimean Peninsula. (AP Photo/Alain Jocard, Pool)

  • From left, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, French President Francois Hollande, Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, talk together during a break of a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Top diplomats from the West and Russia trying to find an end to the crisis in Ukraine are gathering in Paris on Wednesday as tensions simmered over the Russian military takeover of the strategic Crimean Peninsula. (AP Photo/Alain Jocard, Pool)

    From left, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, French President Francois Hollande, Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, talk together during a break of a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Top diplomats from the West and Russia trying to find an end to the crisis in Ukraine are gathering in Paris on Wednesday as tensions simmered over the Russian military takeover of the strategic Crimean Peninsula. (AP Photo/Alain Jocard, Pool)

  • French President Francois Hollande, left, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, center, and  French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, right, talk together while German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, background left, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov background right, talk together behind them during a break of a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Top diplomats from the West and Russia trying to find an end to the crisis in Ukraine are gathering in Paris on Wednesday as tensions simmered over the Russian military takeover of the strategic Crimean Peninsula. (AP Photo/Alain Jocard, Pool)

    French President Francois Hollande, left, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, center, and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, right, talk together while German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, background left, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov background right, talk together behind them during a break of a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Top diplomats from the West and Russia trying to find an end to the crisis in Ukraine are gathering in Paris on Wednesday as tensions simmered over the Russian military takeover of the strategic Crimean Peninsula. (AP Photo/Alain Jocard, Pool)

  • French President Francois Hollande, left, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, center, and  French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, right, talk together while German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, background left, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov background right, talk together behind them during a break of a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Top diplomats from the West and Russia trying to find an end to the crisis in Ukraine are gathering in Paris on Wednesday as tensions simmered over the Russian military takeover of the strategic Crimean Peninsula. (AP Photo/Alain Jocard, Pool)

    French President Francois Hollande, left, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, center, and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, right, talk together while German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, background left, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov background right, talk together behind them during a break of a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Top diplomats from the West and Russia trying to find an end to the crisis in Ukraine are gathering in Paris on Wednesday as tensions simmered over the Russian military takeover of the strategic Crimean Peninsula. (AP Photo/Alain Jocard, Pool)

  • Ukrainian men wearing camouflage uniforms march along a street at a memorial for people killed during clashes with police at Kiev's Independence Square, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Stepping back from the brink of war, Vladimir Putin talked tough but cooled tensions in the Ukraine crisis Tuesday, saying Russia has no intention "to fight the Ukrainian people" but reserves the right to use force. As the Russian president held court in his personal residence, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Kiev's fledgling government and urged Putin to stand down. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

    Ukrainian men wearing camouflage uniforms march along a street at a memorial for people killed during clashes with police at Kiev's Independence Square, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Stepping back from the brink of war, Vladimir Putin talked tough but cooled tensions in the Ukraine crisis Tuesday, saying Russia has no intention "to fight the Ukrainian people" but reserves the right to use force. As the Russian president held court in his personal residence, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Kiev's fledgling government and urged Putin to stand down. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

  • Ukrainian men wearing camouflage uniforms march along a street at a memorial for people killed during clashes with police at Kiev's Independence Square, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Stepping back from the brink of war, Vladimir Putin talked tough but cooled tensions in the Ukraine crisis Tuesday, saying Russia has no intention "to fight the Ukrainian people" but reserves the right to use force. As the Russian president held court in his personal residence, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Kiev's fledgling government and urged Putin to stand down. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

    Ukrainian men wearing camouflage uniforms march along a street at a memorial for people killed during clashes with police at Kiev's Independence Square, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Stepping back from the brink of war, Vladimir Putin talked tough but cooled tensions in the Ukraine crisis Tuesday, saying Russia has no intention "to fight the Ukrainian people" but reserves the right to use force. As the Russian president held court in his personal residence, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Kiev's fledgling government and urged Putin to stand down. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

  • Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meet at the Russian Ambassador's Residence in Paris, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Russia rebuffed Western demands to withdraw forces in Ukraine's Crimea region to their bases on Wednesday amid a day of high-stakes diplomacy in Paris aimed at easing tensions over Ukraine and averting the risk of war.  (AP Photo/Kevin Lamarque, Pool)

    Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meet at the Russian Ambassador's Residence in Paris, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Russia rebuffed Western demands to withdraw forces in Ukraine's Crimea region to their bases on Wednesday amid a day of high-stakes diplomacy in Paris aimed at easing tensions over Ukraine and averting the risk of war. (AP Photo/Kevin Lamarque, Pool)

  • Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meet at the Russian Ambassador's Residence in Paris, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Russia rebuffed Western demands to withdraw forces in Ukraine's Crimea region to their bases on Wednesday amid a day of high-stakes diplomacy in Paris aimed at easing tensions over Ukraine and averting the risk of war.  (AP Photo/Kevin Lamarque, Pool)

    Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meet at the Russian Ambassador's Residence in Paris, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Russia rebuffed Western demands to withdraw forces in Ukraine's Crimea region to their bases on Wednesday amid a day of high-stakes diplomacy in Paris aimed at easing tensions over Ukraine and averting the risk of war. (AP Photo/Kevin Lamarque, Pool)

  • Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meet at the Russian Ambassador's Residence in Paris, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Russia rebuffed Western demands to withdraw forces in Ukraine's Crimea region to their bases on Wednesday amid a day of high-stakes diplomacy in Paris aimed at easing tensions over Ukraine and averting the risk of war.  (AP Photo/Kevin Lamarque, Pool)

    Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meet at the Russian Ambassador's Residence in Paris, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Russia rebuffed Western demands to withdraw forces in Ukraine's Crimea region to their bases on Wednesday amid a day of high-stakes diplomacy in Paris aimed at easing tensions over Ukraine and averting the risk of war. (AP Photo/Kevin Lamarque, Pool)

  • Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meet at the Russian Ambassador's Residence in Paris, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Russia rebuffed Western demands to withdraw forces in Ukraine's Crimea region to their bases on Wednesday amid a day of high-stakes diplomacy in Paris aimed at easing tensions over Ukraine and averting the risk of war.  (AP Photo/Kevin Lamarque, Pool)

    Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meet at the Russian Ambassador's Residence in Paris, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Russia rebuffed Western demands to withdraw forces in Ukraine's Crimea region to their bases on Wednesday amid a day of high-stakes diplomacy in Paris aimed at easing tensions over Ukraine and averting the risk of war. (AP Photo/Kevin Lamarque, Pool)

  • Secretary of State John Kerry, center, walks up the stairs to board his plane before his departure from Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Ahead of Kerry on the stairs is Ukraine Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia, who is travelling to Paris with Kerry. Kerry announced an economic package and technical assistance for Ukraine in a show of support for its new government amid escalating tensions with Russia. Kerry's visit comes as Washington and its Western allies step up pressure on Moscow to withdraw its troops from Ukraine's Crimea region or face economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation.  (AP Photo/Kevin Lamarque, Pool)

    Secretary of State John Kerry, center, walks up the stairs to board his plane before his departure from Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Ahead of Kerry on the stairs is Ukraine Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia, who is travelling to Paris with Kerry. Kerry announced an economic package and technical assistance for Ukraine in a show of support for its new government amid escalating tensions with Russia. Kerry's visit comes as Washington and its Western allies step up pressure on Moscow to withdraw its troops from Ukraine's Crimea region or face economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation. (AP Photo/Kevin Lamarque, Pool)

  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov raises his hands to take off his headphones at the end of a news conference at the Spanish foreign ministry in Madrid, Spain Wednesday March 5, 2014. Lavrov held talks on the Ukraine crisis with European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton in Madrid on Tuesday, and met with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and later King Juan Carlos. Tension has risen in recent weeks with Western countries backing the country’s new caretaker government while Moscow accuses them of supporting an anti-constitutional coup and pledges to protect Russians in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Paul White)

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov raises his hands to take off his headphones at the end of a news conference at the Spanish foreign ministry in Madrid, Spain Wednesday March 5, 2014. Lavrov held talks on the Ukraine crisis with European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton in Madrid on Tuesday, and met with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and later King Juan Carlos. Tension has risen in recent weeks with Western countries backing the country’s new caretaker government while Moscow accuses them of supporting an anti-constitutional coup and pledges to protect Russians in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Paul White)

  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov raises his hands to take off his headphones at the end of a news conference at the Spanish foreign ministry in Madrid, Spain Wednesday March 5, 2014. Lavrov held talks on the Ukraine crisis with European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton in Madrid on Tuesday, and met with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and later King Juan Carlos. Tension has risen in recent weeks with Western countries backing the country’s new caretaker government while Moscow accuses them of supporting an anti-constitutional coup and pledges to protect Russians in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Paul White)

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov raises his hands to take off his headphones at the end of a news conference at the Spanish foreign ministry in Madrid, Spain Wednesday March 5, 2014. Lavrov held talks on the Ukraine crisis with European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton in Madrid on Tuesday, and met with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and later King Juan Carlos. Tension has risen in recent weeks with Western countries backing the country’s new caretaker government while Moscow accuses them of supporting an anti-constitutional coup and pledges to protect Russians in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Paul White)

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, centre, hosts the Budapest Memorandum Ministerial meeting with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia, 3rd right, and British Foreign Secretary William Hague, 2nd left, at  U.S. ambassador's residence in Paris, Wednesday  March 5, 2014. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Paris where he is expected to hold talks with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, about the crisis in Ukraine's Crimea Peninsula which is now controlled by Russian troops.  (AP Photo/Kevin Lamarque, Pool)

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, centre, hosts the Budapest Memorandum Ministerial meeting with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia, 3rd right, and British Foreign Secretary William Hague, 2nd left, at U.S. ambassador's residence in Paris, Wednesday March 5, 2014. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Paris where he is expected to hold talks with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, about the crisis in Ukraine's Crimea Peninsula which is now controlled by Russian troops. (AP Photo/Kevin Lamarque, Pool)

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, centre, hosts the Budapest Memorandum Ministerial meeting with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia, 3rd right, and British Foreign Secretary William Hague, 2nd left, at  U.S. ambassador's residence in Paris, Wednesday  March 5, 2014. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Paris where he is expected to hold talks with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, about the crisis in Ukraine's Crimea Peninsula which is now controlled by Russian troops.  (AP Photo/Kevin Lamarque, Pool)

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, centre, hosts the Budapest Memorandum Ministerial meeting with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia, 3rd right, and British Foreign Secretary William Hague, 2nd left, at U.S. ambassador's residence in Paris, Wednesday March 5, 2014. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Paris where he is expected to hold talks with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, about the crisis in Ukraine's Crimea Peninsula which is now controlled by Russian troops. (AP Photo/Kevin Lamarque, Pool)

  • Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk talks with reporters during an interview with the Associated Press in Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday March 5, 2014. Yatsenyuk said Wednesday that embattled Crimea must remain part of Ukraine, but may be granted more local powers. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

    Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk talks with reporters during an interview with the Associated Press in Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday March 5, 2014. Yatsenyuk said Wednesday that embattled Crimea must remain part of Ukraine, but may be granted more local powers. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (front right) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (front left) meet at the Russian Ambassador's Residence in Paris, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Russia is unlikely to pull back its military forces in Ukraine's Crimean peninsula, analysts and former Obama administration officials say, forcing the United States and Europe into a more limited strategy of trying to prevent President Vladimir Putin from making advances elsewhere in the former Soviet republic  (AP Photo / Kevin Lamarque, pool)

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (front right) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (front left) meet at the Russian Ambassador's Residence in Paris, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Russia is unlikely to pull back its military forces in Ukraine's Crimean peninsula, analysts and former Obama administration officials say, forcing the United States and Europe into a more limited strategy of trying to prevent President Vladimir Putin from making advances elsewhere in the former Soviet republic (AP Photo / Kevin Lamarque, pool)

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at his meeting with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Yuri Kadobnov, Pool)

    Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at his meeting with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Yuri Kadobnov, Pool)

  • From left, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, French President Francois Hollande, Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, talk together during a break of a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Top diplomats from the West and Russia trying to find an end to the crisis in Ukraine are gathering in Paris on Wednesday as tensions simmered over the Russian military takeover of the strategic Crimean Peninsula. (AP Photo/Alain Jocard, Pool)
  • From left, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, French President Francois Hollande, Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, talk together during a break of a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Top diplomats from the West and Russia trying to find an end to the crisis in Ukraine are gathering in Paris on Wednesday as tensions simmered over the Russian military takeover of the strategic Crimean Peninsula. (AP Photo/Alain Jocard, Pool)
  • From left, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, French President Francois Hollande, Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, talk together during a break of a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Top diplomats from the West and Russia trying to find an end to the crisis in Ukraine are gathering in Paris on Wednesday as tensions simmered over the Russian military takeover of the strategic Crimean Peninsula. (AP Photo/Alain Jocard, Pool)
  • French President Francois Hollande, left, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, center, and  French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, right, talk together while German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, background left, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov background right, talk together behind them during a break of a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Top diplomats from the West and Russia trying to find an end to the crisis in Ukraine are gathering in Paris on Wednesday as tensions simmered over the Russian military takeover of the strategic Crimean Peninsula. (AP Photo/Alain Jocard, Pool)
  • French President Francois Hollande, left, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, center, and  French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, right, talk together while German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, background left, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov background right, talk together behind them during a break of a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Top diplomats from the West and Russia trying to find an end to the crisis in Ukraine are gathering in Paris on Wednesday as tensions simmered over the Russian military takeover of the strategic Crimean Peninsula. (AP Photo/Alain Jocard, Pool)
  • Ukrainian men wearing camouflage uniforms march along a street at a memorial for people killed during clashes with police at Kiev's Independence Square, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Stepping back from the brink of war, Vladimir Putin talked tough but cooled tensions in the Ukraine crisis Tuesday, saying Russia has no intention "to fight the Ukrainian people" but reserves the right to use force. As the Russian president held court in his personal residence, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Kiev's fledgling government and urged Putin to stand down. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
  • Ukrainian men wearing camouflage uniforms march along a street at a memorial for people killed during clashes with police at Kiev's Independence Square, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Stepping back from the brink of war, Vladimir Putin talked tough but cooled tensions in the Ukraine crisis Tuesday, saying Russia has no intention "to fight the Ukrainian people" but reserves the right to use force. As the Russian president held court in his personal residence, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Kiev's fledgling government and urged Putin to stand down. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
  • Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meet at the Russian Ambassador's Residence in Paris, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Russia rebuffed Western demands to withdraw forces in Ukraine's Crimea region to their bases on Wednesday amid a day of high-stakes diplomacy in Paris aimed at easing tensions over Ukraine and averting the risk of war.  (AP Photo/Kevin Lamarque, Pool)
  • Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meet at the Russian Ambassador's Residence in Paris, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Russia rebuffed Western demands to withdraw forces in Ukraine's Crimea region to their bases on Wednesday amid a day of high-stakes diplomacy in Paris aimed at easing tensions over Ukraine and averting the risk of war.  (AP Photo/Kevin Lamarque, Pool)
  • Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meet at the Russian Ambassador's Residence in Paris, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Russia rebuffed Western demands to withdraw forces in Ukraine's Crimea region to their bases on Wednesday amid a day of high-stakes diplomacy in Paris aimed at easing tensions over Ukraine and averting the risk of war.  (AP Photo/Kevin Lamarque, Pool)
  • Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meet at the Russian Ambassador's Residence in Paris, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Russia rebuffed Western demands to withdraw forces in Ukraine's Crimea region to their bases on Wednesday amid a day of high-stakes diplomacy in Paris aimed at easing tensions over Ukraine and averting the risk of war.  (AP Photo/Kevin Lamarque, Pool)
  • Secretary of State John Kerry, center, walks up the stairs to board his plane before his departure from Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Ahead of Kerry on the stairs is Ukraine Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia, who is travelling to Paris with Kerry. Kerry announced an economic package and technical assistance for Ukraine in a show of support for its new government amid escalating tensions with Russia. Kerry's visit comes as Washington and its Western allies step up pressure on Moscow to withdraw its troops from Ukraine's Crimea region or face economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation.  (AP Photo/Kevin Lamarque, Pool)
  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov raises his hands to take off his headphones at the end of a news conference at the Spanish foreign ministry in Madrid, Spain Wednesday March 5, 2014. Lavrov held talks on the Ukraine crisis with European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton in Madrid on Tuesday, and met with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and later King Juan Carlos. Tension has risen in recent weeks with Western countries backing the country’s new caretaker government while Moscow accuses them of supporting an anti-constitutional coup and pledges to protect Russians in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Paul White)
  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov raises his hands to take off his headphones at the end of a news conference at the Spanish foreign ministry in Madrid, Spain Wednesday March 5, 2014. Lavrov held talks on the Ukraine crisis with European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton in Madrid on Tuesday, and met with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and later King Juan Carlos. Tension has risen in recent weeks with Western countries backing the country’s new caretaker government while Moscow accuses them of supporting an anti-constitutional coup and pledges to protect Russians in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Paul White)
  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, centre, hosts the Budapest Memorandum Ministerial meeting with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia, 3rd right, and British Foreign Secretary William Hague, 2nd left, at  U.S. ambassador's residence in Paris, Wednesday  March 5, 2014. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Paris where he is expected to hold talks with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, about the crisis in Ukraine's Crimea Peninsula which is now controlled by Russian troops.  (AP Photo/Kevin Lamarque, Pool)
  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, centre, hosts the Budapest Memorandum Ministerial meeting with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia, 3rd right, and British Foreign Secretary William Hague, 2nd left, at  U.S. ambassador's residence in Paris, Wednesday  March 5, 2014. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Paris where he is expected to hold talks with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, about the crisis in Ukraine's Crimea Peninsula which is now controlled by Russian troops.  (AP Photo/Kevin Lamarque, Pool)
  • Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk talks with reporters during an interview with the Associated Press in Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday March 5, 2014. Yatsenyuk said Wednesday that embattled Crimea must remain part of Ukraine, but may be granted more local powers. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (front right) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (front left) meet at the Russian Ambassador's Residence in Paris, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Russia is unlikely to pull back its military forces in Ukraine's Crimean peninsula, analysts and former Obama administration officials say, forcing the United States and Europe into a more limited strategy of trying to prevent President Vladimir Putin from making advances elsewhere in the former Soviet republic  (AP Photo / Kevin Lamarque, pool)
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at his meeting with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Yuri Kadobnov, Pool)

Paris — Facing off in Europe’s capitals Wednesday, Russia and the West began building the elements of a diplomatic solution to Europe’s gravest crisis since the Cold War — even as the West appeared increasingly resigned to an entrenched Russian presence in Crimea. NATO hit back by putting Russia on suspension, and the European Union extended $15 billion in aid to Ukraine, matching the amount the country’s fugitive president accepted from Moscow to turn his back on an EU trade accord.

As peace efforts got underway in Paris and Brussels, volatility reigned on the ground in Ukraine: A special U.N. envoy visiting Crimea came under threat by armed men who forced him to leave the region. Meanwhile, hundreds of demonstrators, many chanting “Russia! Russia!” stormed a government building in eastern Ukraine — renewing fears that turmoil could spill out of Crimea and engulf other Russian-dominated parts of Ukraine.

Ukraine’s prime minister told The Associated Press in his first interview since taking office that he still feared Russian President Vladimir Putin might attempt more land grabs: “Mr. President,” Arseniy Yatsenyuk said, “stop this mess.”

Yatsenyuk vowed to keep Crimea as part of Ukraine, but expressed openness to granting it more autonomy. Ukraine’s foreign minister, Andriy Deshchytsia, told the AP that pro-Russian citizens in Crimea must be willing to replace armed forces with international observers if they want a vote on more self-rule.

But most of the bargaining chips Wednesday belonged to Russia, whose troops are fanned out across Crimea and control most of its strategic facilities.

A growing chorus of prominent American voices expressed resignation that Crimea was lost to Russia: “I’m not optimistic they’re going to leave,” said Michael McFaul, who served as Obama’s ambassador to Russia until last week.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and several European counterparts conducted an intense round of diplomacy in Paris to try to find an exit strategy in Ukraine.

Speaking at a news conference after the talks, Kerry said the encounter was “very constructive, without promising something that is not defined yet, without raising hopes that are inappropriate to raise.”

“I want to be realistic. This is hard tough stuff, and a very serious moment,” Kerry said. “But I’d rather be where we are today than where we were yesterday.”

“I personally feel that I have something concrete to take back and talk to President Obama about,” Kerry said, though he didn’t specify what that was.

While negotiations were inconclusive, top European officials expressed optimism that at least the two sides were talking — and making progress.

“For the first time, starting with this meeting in Paris, something moved in the right direction,” said French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.

Lavrov, speaking in Spain before meeting with Kerry, warned against Western support of what Moscow views as a coup in Ukraine, saying that could encourage government takeovers elsewhere.

“If we indulge those who are trying to rule our great, kind historic neighbor,” Lavrov said, “we must understand that a bad example is infectious.”

While Russia expressed openness to international mediation, a major sticking point has been Moscow’s refusal to recognize Ukraine’s new leaders much less sit down at the table with them.

“I wish I could give you some good news,” said Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, “but unfortunately it hasn’t been possible to bring together the foreign ministers of Ukraine and Russia.”

Wednesday’s Paris gathering, originally scheduled to deal with the Syrian refugee crisis, came after Putin appeared to step back from the brink of war, telling reporters in his first comments since the Crimea takeover that he has no intention to “fight the Ukrainian people.”

NATO tried to apply pressure on Moscow in its own talks with Russia in Brussels.

The Western alliance’s secretary-general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said that ambassadors for the alliances 28 member states decided after a meeting with their Russian counterpart to suspend plans for a joint mission as well as all civilian and military meetings.

Rasmussen said because of Russia’s military action in Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, “the entire range of NATO-Russia cooperation (is) under review.” Rasmussen said the alliance will continue to meet with Moscow at the political level but insisted that halting all other cooperation “sends a very clear message to Russia.”

One key piece of leverage that the West has over nearly bankrupt Ukraine: hard cash. The three months of protests that triggered Ukraine’s crisis erupted when Yanukovych accepted $15 billion in aid from Putin in exchange for dropping an economic partnership deal with the EU. On Wednesday, the EU matched the aid — which the Russians withdrew after Yanukovych’s downfall — and the U.S. topped that up with an additional $1 billion.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s former prime minister — the heroine of Ukraine’s 2004-2005 Orange Revolution and Yanukovych’s arch-enemy — called on the West to force Russia to withdraw troops from Crimea.

Yulia Tymoshenko, who was released from prison two weeks ago, said that any negotiations about Ukraine’s future should be conducted directly between the United States, the European Union and Russia — and insisted no compromises should be made to appease Moscow.

“We believe that the aggressor must leave without any conditions,” Tymoshenko told the AP in an interview.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said a key demand was for Russia’s military to pull back to its Black Sea bases to show a tangible de-escalation, but he did not press for a Thursday deadline as European diplomats initially had. EU talks about possible sanctions against Russia were scheduled Thursday in Brussels.

The EU on Wednesday also froze the assets of 18 people held responsible for misappropriating state funds in Ukraine, echoing similar action in Switzerland and Austria. The list, which likely targets officials in the ousted government or businessmen related to them, was withheld until Thursday to prevent anyone from withdrawing the funds at the last minute.

Russia has suggested that it will meet any sanctions imposed by Western governments with a tough response, and Putin has warned that those measures could incur serious “mutual damage.”

In Crimea, U.N. special envoy Robert Serry was threatened by 10 to 15 armed men as he was leaving naval headquarters in Crimea, said U.N. deputy secretary-general Jan Eliasson. When the men ordered Serry to go to the airport, Serry refused — but then found himself trapped because his car was blocked, Eliasson said.

The Dutch envoy was later spotted by reporters in a coffee shop, as men in camouflage outfits stood outside. He got into a van with the men, and was taken to Simferopol airport.

Later, an AP reporter found Serry in the business class lounge of the Simferopol airport.

“I’m safe. My visit was interrupted for reasons that I cannot understand,” the Dutch diplomat said in a statement to AP. He said nothing more.

The Obama administration took steps Wednesday to support the defenses of U.S. allies in Europe in response to Russia’s takeover of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.

Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the U.S. was stepping up joint aviation training with Polish forces. The Pentagon also is increasing American participation in NATO’s air policing mission in its Baltic countries, he said.

In his remarks, Hagel focused on U.S. diplomatic and aid efforts since Moscow’s incursion into Ukrainian territory and said he would speak later Wednesday with Ukraine’s new defense minister. U.S. Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey spoke to his Russian counterpart earlier in the day. Neither Hagel nor Dempsey mentioned military options.

“I urge continued restraint in the days ahead in order to preserve room for a diplomatic solution,” Dempsey told the Senate panel.

Meanwhile, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe sent a team of 35 unarmed military observers to Crimea on Wednesday at the fledgling government’s request.

“They will not be contented with assurances that these people are volunteers, who bought their uniforms in a shop,” Polish Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak said of the troops without insignia who have taken control of airports, administrative buildings and military bases in Crimea. The hope is to learn “who is in power there and conclusions the OSCE should draw from that.”

Financial markets settled down Wednesday after two days of big swings, a sign that investors believe the risk of war has been averted.

“In terms of the international stage,” said analyst Joao Monteiro, “this does seem to have moved on from looking like a game of poker to one of chess.”