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NATO talks to focus on Russia, Ukraine

Paris (AP) -- Top diplomats from the major players trying to find an end to the crisis in Ukraine are gathering in Paris Wednesday.

The envoys from Russia, Ukraine, the U.S., Britain and France are not necessarily all at the same table, but French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said everyone has been working non-stop for a diplomatic solution for tensions in Ukraine.

"We're working on it," Fabius told the BFM television network just ahead of a meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart. "There is no military solution."

Russia took over the strategic Crimean Peninsula Saturday, placing troops around its ferry, military bases and border posts.

Wednesday's gathering, originally scheduled to deal with the Syrian refugee crisis, came after Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared to step back from the brink of war.

Meanwhile, Some 30 unarmed military observers headed to Ukraine Wednesday morning to monitor the Crimea region, where pro-Russian forces have taken control.

The U.S. was part of that mission. Meanwhile, Russia has agreed to a NATO request to hold a special meeting Wednesday in Brussels to discuss Ukraine.

The threat of military confrontation has retreated somewhat, but the economic feud has been ramping up.

Troops in Russia have pulled back from the border with Ukraine, but Russia has driven up the price of natural gas it supplies to Ukraine.

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Washington Times