President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Barack Obama "thoroughly discussed various aspects of the extraordinary situation in Ukraine" during a telephone conversation, the Kremlin press service reports.
It stressed that the conversation took place at the initiative of the U.S. side.
"In response to the concern expressed by Obama about the plans of possible use of Russian armed forces in the territory of Ukraine Putin drew attention to the provocative, criminal actions of ultra nationalist elements actually encouraged by the incumbent authorities in Kiev," the report said.
"The president of Russia emphasized the existence of real threats to the lives and health of Russian citizens and numerous compatriots in Ukrainian territory. Putin stressed that in case of the further spread of violence to the eastern regions of Ukraine and Crimea Russia reserves the right to protect its interests and the Russian-speaking population there," the Kremlin press service noted.