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Russia has ‘no intention’ to cross Ukraine border

Moscow firmly ruled out an invasion of mainland Ukraine after Moscow's seizure of Crimea

Published: Updated:

Russia has absolutely no intention of ordering its armed forces to cross over the Ukrainian border and the divisions between Moscow and the West on the crisis are narrowing, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Saturday.

"We have absolutely no intention and no interests in crossing the Ukrainian border," Lavrov told Russian state television in an interview, appearing to firmly rule out an invasion of mainland Ukraine after Moscow's seizure of Crimea.

"We (Russia and the West) are getting closer in our positions," he added, saying recent contacts had shown the outlines of a "possible joint initiative which could be presented to our Ukrainian colleagues," he added.

A call to the POTUS

Russian President Vladimir Putin called President Obama on Friday to discuss possible steps to be taken by the international community in order to calm the situation in Ukraine, the Kremlin said Saturday.

The White House had announced earlier that Putin had called Obama to discuss a U.S. proposal to solve the crisis in Ukraine, after Russia seized the Black Sea region of Crimea and deployed tens of thousands of troops on the country's eastern border.

"The Russian leader suggested examining possible steps of the international community to help stabilize the situation," the Kremlin said. Specifics have yet to be announced.

"The concrete parameters of this joint work will be discussed" by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his U.S. counterpart John Kerry soon, the statement added.

Putin underscored his concern for what he called was “continued outbursts by extremists” in Kiev and Transdniestr, a part of the Moldovan region which broke away from the Moldovan government following the fall of the USSR.

Putin said there was a "de-facto external blockade of Transdniestr" which was obstructing the lives of its inhabitants. The rebel statelet is not recognized by any government.

The Russian president suggested the Transdniestr crisis should be solved by talks in the 5+2 format of Moldova, the OSCE, Russia, Ukraine plus the EU and the U.S. as observers.