U.N. chief tells Putin he is ‘deeply concerned’ over Ukraine

Putin said Russia always supported the U.N. and appreciated Ban’s efforts in resolving the Ukrainian crisis

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U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon told Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday that he was deeply concerned over the crisis in Ukraine, which saw Moscow absorb the ex-Soviet country's peninsula of Crimea into Russian territory.

"As the secretary general of the United Nations, I cannot hide but to tell you that I am deeply concerned about the current situation," Ban said at the start of talks in the Kremlin.

"It is a great honor for me to visit Moscow so soon after my last visit to Sochi," he added, referring to his visit to the Winter Olympic Games last month.

"Russia has demonstrated great humanity at that time," he said, thanking Putin for the opportunity to meet for talks in person.

The U.N. chief added that he also held talks with foreign minister Sergei Lavrov earlier Thursday.

Putin for his part said Russia, which is a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, always supported the global body and appreciated Ban's efforts in solving crises.

On Tuesday, Putin signed a hugely controversial treaty with Crimean leaders making Ukraine's Russian-speaking peninsula part of Russia despite condemnation from Kiev authorities and the West.