The chat late on Friday on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games in
Neither Russian nor Ukrainian officials disclosed the details of the two leaders' conversation except to say that it was brief and held at Sochi's Fisht stadium where the Games' opening ceremony was held.
"There was no official bilateral meeting. That was not a part of (the president's) programme," a Ukrainian administration spokesman said by telephone.
Yanukovych had been expected to discuss with Putin the fate of a
One step above default
The ex-Soviet nation of 46 million was thrown into its worst crisis since independence in November when Yanukovych ditched an historic EU pact under Russian pressure in a stunning reversal that sparked violent protests that have claimed several lives.
The sustained protests that followed have since then played out as a titanic struggle for the country's future between
Yanukovych must now decide whether to submit to protesters' demands by taking a more conciliatory approach toward a new agreement with the
The protracted crisis has seen
Several banks have reported hard currency shortages and the central bank on Friday was forced to impose capital controls while moving the Ukrainian hryvnia's official rate to 8.7 from 7.9 per dollar — its first shift of the peg since
The central bank's new exchange restrictions include a
Companies can buy unrestricted amounts of dollars and euros but have to wait at least six days to receive the foreign currency.
The global ratings agency Fitch became the latest to downgrade
US and EU bicker over leaks
Leading Ukrainian lawmakers are expected to meet on Monday to discuss opposition proposals to slash presidential powers and return to a constitution the country had until 2010 that granted extended powers to parliament.
Yanukovych has signalled that he welcomes a discussion of the changes without committing himself to the reform.
No constitutional changes granting lawmakers the power to approve the appointment of all ministers and security chiefs are expected to be voted on before September due to stalling tactics by ruling party members who now dominate parliament.
The simmering tensions in
The two sides' woes were compounded when a second tape emerged on Friday showing two top EU diplomats angrily discussing their differences with
EU officials are expected to discuss but not adopt such sanctions in
"We are working closely with them. Do you agree on every component of every step at every moment? Of course not. It's too complex of an issue," she told reporters.
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