Ukraine foreign minister to visit Moscow

Other News Materials 16 April 2007 12:48 (UTC +04:00)

( RIA Novosti ) - Ukrainian Foreign Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk is to visit Moscow Monday, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

"Monday, the minister will make a one-day working visit to Moscow," he said, adding that Yatsenyuk is to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

He said the Ukrainian official also intends to meet with representatives of the Ukrainian community in Russia.

The visit is taking place against a backdrop of political tension back home, after an order by Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko to dissolve parliament, which is controlled by factions loyal to his long-time rival, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, triggered a new standoff with the defiant legislature.

Yushchenko said last Thursday he was not ruling out the involvement of mediators in resolving the political crisis in the ex-Soviet nation.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov earlier called on its former Soviet ally for calm and expressed readiness to help if Kiev requested aid.

Ukraine has twice postponed Viktor Yushchenko's visit to Moscow. His first visit to Russia was originally slated for March 21, but was put off after Moscow declared a day of mourning when three major accidents hit the country in rapid succession.

Ukraine's Foreign Ministry said the visit would start April 3, but was then delayed over an escalating political crisis in the ex-Soviet state.

Yushchenko refused Thursday to meet Yanukovych's demands to backtrack on his decree and said there were no legal grounds to call an early presidential poll in parallel, but he said elections, originally slated for May 27, could be postponed until a later date.

Thousands of coalition supporters and several hundred pro-presidential backers have meanwhile been facing off on the streets of the capital, Kiev.