Russian Sets Two Conditions for Discussing Ukraine
Moscow is ready to discuss its actions in Ukraine if Kiev sticks to the February 21 deal and if it forges a national coalition.
These requirements were stated by a diplomatic official at the Russian Foreign Ministry who chose to remain anonymous, Russian news agency RIA Novosti has reported.
The February 21 deal envisages constitutional reforms and presidential elections before the end of 2014.
Regarding a new national unity government, it should include all of Ukraine's political parties, the official has declared.
The conditions enumerated are said to be of general importance to Moscow, which, according to the diplomatic source, is ready to start talks with its international partners "within the next days".
The deal that was struck on February 21, after days of flaring violence in Ukrainian capital Kiev and other cities, allowed for ousted president Viktor Yanukovych to remain in power, but forced him to amend the constitution limiting his powers and set a date for presidential elections.
Short after the agreement, however, Yanukovych was declared "illegitimate" by the Ukrainian Parliament and fled the capital, changing locations and finally reaching Russia over the next few days.
Moscow has already stated that it questions the legitimacy of current leadership in Kiev, interim President Olexandr Turchynov and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk included.
Tensions have been rising in both Russia and Ukraine over the weekend as the Russian Parliament approved on Saturday President Vladimir Putin's request to send troops to Ukraine's autonomous region of Crimea to protect its ethnic Russian majority. Kiev has described the move as an "armed invasion" and it also drew significant criticism from members of the international community.