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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Moscow Snubs Meshkov

Russian government officials said Monday they had no plans to meet with Crimean President Yury Meshkov during his first visit to Moscow since being elected head of the Ukrainian republic.

Speaking on Sunday's broadcast of the news program "Itogi," Meshkov said he was happy with the progress of his talks in Moscow for the creation a ruble zone in Crimea, a central plank in his election platform.

But a spokesman for the Russian Central Bank said Monday that Meshkov "had no talks with anyone" at the bank since he arrived last week.

"We think the realization of his ideas would be a very difficult process," said the spokesman, Alexei Sytnin.

The head of the Foreign Ministry's Ukrainian section, Vsevelod Loskitov, also said Monday that no talks were planned with Meshkov.

At a news conference Monday, Meshkov shrugged off suggestions that he was being prevented by Crimea's Supreme Soviet from wielding real power in the Ukrainian-controlled but mainly Russian-populated peninsula.

Since his election Jan. 30, Meshkov has had computers confiscated from his office and was turned back when trying to enter Sevastopol, base of the Black Sea Fleet -- a sign of animosity between pro-Moscow and pro-Kiev factions.

On Monday, Meshkov characterized these problems as "technical."

"It's a matter of the old power leaving and a new power arriving," he said. "Such technical considerations will be solved when the new Supreme Soviet is elected" on March 27.

Meshkov announced in Sunday evening's broadcast that Russian economist Yevgeny Saburov would head his cabinet. Saburov is an architect of one of the three economic plans to guide Russian policy that are being discussed in the State Duma. His plan's primary thrust is a call for wage and price freezes.

Meshkov also restated support for a referendum on Crimean independence. He said the question would be: "Are you in favor of an independent Republic of Crimea in union with other states?"