Can Jay Carney and John Kerry save Ukraine?

No kidding. Like the time Putin moved into Crimea over White House objections – overtly, covertly and permanently? Thrusting his lower lip into a serious-face pout, Carney solemnly revealed nothing we didn’t already know. “What’s clear is that this is a result of increased Russian pressure on Ukraine,” he said, “and we see it in the troops that have massed on the border.”

What’s also clear: Russian interests are behind uprisings and building takeovers in Donetsk and Kharkiv, an ominous echo of Putin’s pretext for seizing Crimea this year and Georgia in 2008. “There is strong evidence suggesting some of these demonstrators were paid,” Carney said.

Don’t fret. Secretary of State John Kerry set aside his feckless effort to keep Israelis and Palestinians at the negotiating table to call Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Expressing “strong concern” about “escalatory steps” by the Russians, Kerry convinced Lavrov to participate in talks with U.S., Ukranian and European Union officials in the next 10 days.

This is the same Lavrov who teased Kerry with talks while Russian troops seized Crimea.