Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov insisted Russia had no plans to invade eastern Ukraine but would respect this weekend's referendum in Crimea.
Speaking at the residency of the Russian Ambassador to London following talks with his U.S. counterpart Secretary of State John Kerry, Lavrov said that "differences remained" between the West and Russia over the future of the country, but stressed that the ongoing crisis was not the result of Russia's actions.
"We will respect the expression of the will of the Crimean people in in the upcoming referendum," Lavrov told reporters, adding that Russia did not need any international structure to help it deal with Ukraine.
"The Russian Federation does not and cannot have any plans to invade the southeastern regions of Ukraine" he added, following recent clashes in the Ukrainian city of Donetsk.
But Kerry - who described the dialog with Lavrov as "constructive" - said he would like to see "actions and not words" that Russia was diminishing its presence in Ukraine.
Kerry added that Russia's President Vladimir Putin was unwilling to make decisions on Crimea until after the referendum.
"Our position on the referendum is clear," said Kerry during a press conference. "We believe the referendum is contrary to the constitution of Ukraine."
(Read more: Crimea referendum:Why it's so important)
The comments come after Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Ukraine's interim prime minister, told CNBC he believed the referendum in Crimea would inevitably result in the population rejecting Ukrainian rule - but remained adamant that the country will do all that it can to protect its territorial integrity.
"(It) seems to me that this referendum is already pre-ordered and that we can easily predict the outcome," he told CNBC in New York late Thursday.
"But Russia is to stick to the charter and to its international obligations."
The Crimean population is likely to vote along ethnic lines, with the majority Russian-speaking population dominating in the referendum. Yatsenyuk's comments came after a standoff between himself and a Russian diplomat in front of the United Nations on Thursday.
The Ukrainian leader urged Russia to move towards negotiations to try to end the tensions in the eastern European country. Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, told the emergency meeting that Moscow does not want war with Ukraine.