Ukraine tensions and Crimea
The Russian naval landing ship Nikolai Filchenkov in seen moored in the harbour of the Crimean port of SevastopolReuters file photo

Talks on financial help for Ukraine have not materialised on an international level, according to Russia's deputy finance minister Sergei Storchak.

Storchak told Reuters that no multilateral talks were going on but said a solution to Ukraine's economic crisis was urgent. Talks awere being conducted at a national level, he said.

In an earlier meeting with Lamberto Zannier, secretary general of the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE), Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said that all forms of aid to Ukraine should be provided only at the demand of "legitimate authorities".

Russia halted aid to Ukraine as several Russian-speaking regions called for secession from Kiev and the interim government led by Oleksandr Turchinov because they said they were being victimised.

In a statement published on the foreign ministry's website, Lavrov had asked the OSCE to condemn "the growth of neo-nationalist and neo-fascist sentiment in the west of the country, calls by nationalists to ban the Russian language, to turn the Russian-speaking population into non-citizens, limits on the freedom of expression and the closure of unwanted political parties."

Economic Crisis

The toppling of president Viktor Yanukovich had a knock-on effect on the markets and has left Ukraine verging on a default on its debt obligations.

The EU has committed €20bn (£16.4bn, $27.5bn) to support the economy and its reforms, after the formation of a new government.

Turchinov had vowed to seek closer ties with Europe as Russia recalled its ambassador to Kiev for consultations. Turchinov said that integration with the EU and bringing immediate stability to the country were his top priorities.

He hinted that a move towards European integration should not worry Russia. He pledged a fresh relationship with Moscow.

In December, Russian president Vladimir Putin had offered Yanukovich $15bn in loans and energy subsidies as a reward for his decision to reject an association agreement with the EU.

The leadership changes in Ukraine prompted Russia to hold off on the package. Russian finance minister Anton Siluanov said Ukraine should seek help from the International Monetary Fund.