European Union President Herman Van Rompuy has taken a message of support to Kyiv and the interim Ukrainian government.
The day after referenda were held in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the east, self-appointed separatist leaders there were calling for Russian troops and annexation by Moscow.
“The Geneva joint statement on initial concrete steps to deescalate tension and restore security must be implemented. It is urgent that Russia call upon the armed separatists to lay down their weapons and to vacate the buildings they are illegally occupying,” said Van Rompuy.
Interim Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk insisted he would only speak with the legitimate concerned parties in the crisis.
“We support the format of negotiations only if they are attended by Ukraine, EU, USA and Russia,” he insisted, adding that he wanted a roundtable dialogue with all legitimate interested parties in the east.
Moscow has consistently said the groups that seized power in Kyiv in late February are illegitimate, yet on Monday evening the foreign ministry said Europe should respect the results of the votes in Donetsk and Luhansk.
Along with the EU, the White House on Monday also dismissed the referenda as “illegal”, and said the United States would not recognise the results.