Washington – Secretary of State John Kerry is heading to Moscow for talks on Ukraine and Syria as the terrorist attacks in Brussels underscored the urgency of fighting the Islamic State group. Kerry departed Washington late Tuesday after accompanying President Barack Obama to Cuba and speaking by phone from Havana with the Belgian
foreign minister to offer condolences for the victims of the attacks and any assistance Brussels might need. The attacks were claimed by the Islamic State group and have highlighted the threat the group poses outside of its territory in Iraq and Syria. In talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Thursday, Kerry is to discuss the fragile truce in Syria that hopefully will spark U.N.-brokered peace talks amid disagreements over how to verify and respond to alleged violations, the State Department said. His visit was arranged following Putin’s surprise announcement last week of Russia’s partial military withdrawal from Syria.