KIEV, March 4 (Xinhua) -- Members of the Ukrainian cabinet have started consultations with their Russian counterparts aiming to de- escalate the tensions between the two neighboring states, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk said here Tuesday.
"Consultations on the ministerial level between Ukraine and Russia have started. Although the negotiation process run in a quite sluggish way, the first steps have been taken," Yatsenyuk told a press conference.
Yatsenyuk said his government uses all possible options to stabilize the situation in the country.
Tensions between Kiev and Moscow escalated last week, when armed groups seized government and parliament buildings in Ukraine 's Autonomous Republic of Crimea and took control of two airports. Russian flags were raised over the seized buildings.
On March 1, Russia's upper house of the parliament approved President Vladimir Putin's request for using armed forces in Ukraine "in connection with the extraordinary situation and the threat to the lives of citizens of the Russian Federation."