POLITICS

Rob Nicholson Keen To Hear About John Kerry's Meeting With Putin

05/12/2015 01:59 EDT | Updated 05/12/2016 05:59 EDT
ANTALYA, Turkey - Foreign Affairs Minister Rob Nicholson says he'll be asking U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry about his Tuesday conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

But Nicholson all but ruled out any direct substantive interaction between the Harper government and the Russian leader.

Nicholson is in Turkey where he will attend the NATO foreign ministers meeting on Wednesday, prior to his just-completed trip to Ukraine earlier this week.

That is where he will see Kerry, who is on his first trip to Russia since the Ukraine crisis began.

Canada has all but severed relations with Putin, save for a brief handshake between Stephen Harper and Putin at last year's G20, when the prime minister told the Russian leader flatly to get out of Ukraine.

Pressed on the political isolation, Nicholson said Canada and Russia interacted politically at the recent Arctic Council meeting in Nunavut.

"We have communicated with Russia and made it very clear that they should get out of Ukraine," the minister added.

Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq condemned Russia's actions in Ukraine directly to Russian Environment Minister Sergei Donskoi, who represented his country at the Arctic meeting.

Nicholson, meanwhile, reiterated Canadian solidarity with Ukraine on a visit to that country that wrapped Tuesday.

The minister met his counterpart, Pavlo Klimkin, and President Petro Poroshenko.

He also visited a military hospital where he said he saw the human cost of the violence, which Ukraine authorities say has claimed 8,000 lives since April 2014.

Also on Tuesday, Kerry spent four hours with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the Black Sea resort of Sochi and then met Putin at his residence there.

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