MOSCOW — Ukraine's ambassador to Russia and a deputy Russian foreign minister held a "cordial" meeting on Saturday, Moscow said, without giving details of any discussion of Russian-occupied Crimea.
Envoy Vladimir Yelchenko met deputy minister Grigory Karasin, the Russian foreign ministry said, and "issues of Russo-Ukrainian relations were discussed in a cordial atmosphere."
Russia has denounced the overthrow of Ukrainian President President Viktor Yanukovich in mass protests last month as a coup, and declared the country's interim leadership illegitimate.
Russia has seized control of Crimea, a Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula with a Russian-speaking majority, where overnight confrontations between Russian troops and besieged Ukrainian soldiers raised tensions further on Saturday.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk said on Friday that Ukraine was ready for talks with Russia, but Moscow must first withdraw its troops, abide by international agreements and halt its support for "separatists and terrorists."
He said he had requested a second telephone call with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. The two premiers spoke on March 1, the only high-level contact between the countries since the crisis began.
First published March 8 2014, 9:05 AM