Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a telephone call with US President Barack Obama, denied the Kremlin was interfering in Ukraine and urged the United States to use its influence to prevent bloodshed there, the Kremlin said.
"The Russian side underlined that protests in Donetsk, Lugansk, Kharkov, Slaviansk and other cities in the south-east of Ukraine were the result of the lack of will and inability of the leadership in Kiev to take account of the interests of the Russian and Russian-speaking population," the Kremlin said in a statement.
"President Putin called on Barack Obama to do his utmost to use the opportunities that the United States has to prevent the use of force, and bloodshed."
Putin told Obama that reports that Russia was interfering in Ukraine were based on erroneous information. He said the focus of the authorities in Kiev should be on involving all regions and political forces in Ukraine in drawing up a new constitution.
Both sides agreed to continue to search for diplomatic means of influencing the situation in the run-up to international talks on Ukraine, scheduled to take place on April 17 in Geneva, the statement said.