Russia’s Foreign Secretary Sergei Lavrov has called on the authorities in Kyiv to hold talks with pro-Moscow separatists in eastern Ukraine.
It comes as Ukraine’s interim President Olexander Turchynov has conceded his forces are “helpless” to quell the unrest in Donetsk and Luhansk.
Lavrov’s request for negotiation came while on a visit to Peru: “Russia believes that a dialogue between the authorities in Kyiv and their opponents can be established, within the framework of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe. We hope that our partners, our western colleagues allow Ukrainians to establish this dialogue without major impediment.”
Overnight in Kyiv Ukraine’s state guards, those responsible for the security of administrative buildings, carried out a series of military exercises in readiness for any potential unrest in the capital.
Valeriy Heletey, who heads the unit coordinated the drills:
“Presidential elections are coming, so tensions are high . The annexation of Crimea and the situation in the east of Ukraine adds to the unease, so its tense and we are working on our security. We are carrying out drills to check if the units are ready for their operational tasks, if they’re ready to take up their positions at the checkpoints.”
In a further development Interfax-Ukraine report that Russia’s military attache to Kyiv has been detained on suspicion of espionage and ordered to leave the country.