Kerry meeting Lavrov ahead of Crimea referendum on Sunday

|By:, SA News Editor

John Kerry has arrived in London to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in another effort to try to resolve the crisis over Ukraine.

However, Western officials believe there is little chance of heading off a referendum in Crimea on Sunday over a proposal for the province to leave Ukraine and join Russia. Still, the West will try to persuade the latter country not to annex Crimea if the region's voters approve the proposal. Ukrainian interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk believes it's a foregone conclusion that they will.

Yesterday, Russia began new military exercises near the Ukrainian border.

Meanwhile, hackers have brought down the Web sites of the Kremlin and Russia's central bank ahead of an interest-rate decision.

Russia's Micex stock index is -2.6% at 1216, but that's up from a 4 1/2 year low of 1184 earlier. The USD-RUB is +0.2% at 36.652 rubles.

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