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Published: Sunday March 9, 2014 MYT 1:16:11 AM
Updated: Sunday March 9, 2014 MYT 1:16:15 AM

Ukraine's ambassador in Moscow meets Russian deputy minister

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Ukraine's ambassador to Russia and a deputy Russian foreign minister held a "frank" 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 frank atmosphere".

Russia has denounced the overthrow of Ukrainian 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

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.

(Corrects wording in first and second paras to "frank".)

(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

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