Russia and Ukraine have had the first diplomatic contacts since the start of the Crimean crisis, while the European Union has said it will sign a political agreement with Kyiv "immediately."
Russia's Foreign Ministry said Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin held a meeting in Moscow with Ukrainian Ambassador in Moscow Volodymyr Yelchenko, RFE/RL reports.
It said the diplomats "discussed Russian-Ukrainian relations in a frank atmosphere," without giving any details.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia is open to having an "honest, equal" dialogue with foreign states on the crisis in Ukraine but insisted that Moscow bore no responsibility for the situation.
"They are trying to represent us as a participant in the conflict, which we are not," Lavrov said. "This conflict is of an inner-Ukrainian nature, inspired from outside, and not by us. The so-called interim government is not independent -- to our huge regret, it is dependent on the radical nationalists who seized power in an armed attack".