The U.S. State Department says Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Moscow this week to meet with senior Russian officials to discuss Syria, the Ukraine conflict, and the standoff between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
The State Department said on July 11 that Kerry would visit the Russian capital from July 14-15 after attending Bastille Day celebrations in France.
Meanwhile, Russia's Foreign Ministry on July 11 confirmed that Kerry would meet with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during his visit.
The planned visit follows a July 7 phone call between U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin in which they discussed the situation in Syria, Ukraine, and Nagorno-Karabakh.
Meanwhile, Russia's Foreign Ministry on July 11 said Moscow hopes Kerry's visit will create an atmosphere that allows relations between Russia and the United States to improve.
In a statement, the ministry said that "global stability and solutions to a wide range of international crises depend" upon good relations between Moscow and Washington.
After his trip to Moscow, Kerry plans to travel to Luxembourg and then go on to Brussels to discuss "key foreign policy priorities" with EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini, the State Department said.
Ahead of the visit, the Syrian military announced it is extending its nationwide cease-fire for another three days, starting on July 12.
Air strikes and fighting have often continued despite the cease-fires announced periodically by the Syrian Army and the Russian military, which backs Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
With reporting by Reuters, AP, AFP, Interfax, and TASS