Russian, Ukraine foreign ministers in brief meeting in Vienna

VIENNA Tue May 6, 2014 1:43am EDT

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VIENNA May 6 (Reuters) - The foreign ministers of Russia and Ukraine met briefly on the sidelines of a Council of Europe conference in Vienna, Austria's foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

"There was a short greeting. They spoke briefly, but not by themselves," a ministry spokesman said of the meeting, late on Monday, between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ukrainian Acting Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsia.

Austria chairs the Council of Europe human rights group at the moment and is hosting a meeting of 30 foreign ministers on Tuesday to discuss ways to defuse the situation in Ukraine, where the government is trying to quell an insurrection by pro-Russian activists.

Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz on Monday played down chances for a breakthrough.

"You cannot expect miracles from the conference because there won't be any, but hopefully, and this is my expectation, there will be clear backing from most countries for orderly and free (presidential) elections on May 25, because this could be a small step towards stabilising the country," he told Reuters. (Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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