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Russian envoy refuses to meet with Ukrainian counterpart

(NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A Russian envoy is refusing to meet with his Ukrainian counterpart as officials continue to push for a diplomatic resolution to the conflict.

The foreign minister has been meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry though, and is set to meet for a second day of talks Thursday.

Meantime, lawmakers in the Ukraine agreed to vote on whether Crimea should become part of Russia.

A referendum will be held March 16.

The U.S. has proposed a plan that would require Russia to return its troops to bases in Crimea. It would also allow international observers into the region and recognize Ukraine's upcoming elections to establish a new government.

Congress is rushing through a bill Thursday to guarantee up to one billion dollars in loans for Ukraine's new government.

The bill includes measures against Russian government officials, state-owned banks and companies.