Germany's Angela Merkel warned on Saturday that sending arms to help Ukraine fight pro-Russian separatists would not solve the crisis there, drawing a sharp rebuke from a leading U.S. senator who accused Berlin of turning its back on an ally in distress.
The heated exchange at a security conference in Munich pointed to the fragility of the transatlantic consensus on how to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin over a deepening conflict in eastern Ukraine that has killed more than 5,000.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, also in Munich, said there were "good grounds for optimism" that the talks between Merkel, Putin and Hollande could yield a deal.
But Lavrov also delivered a diatribe against the West. He accused Europe and the United States of supporting a "coup d'etat" against deposed Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovich, a Moscow ally, a year ago and turning a blind eye to nationalists he said were intent on ethnic cleansing in eastern Ukraine.