Secretary of State John Kerry said late on Sunday he and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, discussed suggestions for de-escalating the Ukraine crisis during four hours of talks in Paris.
Kerry told a news conference that the United States made clear it still considered Russian actions in Crimea to be "illegal and illegitimate."
He said he had also raised "strong concerns" about the presence of Russian troops on the Ukraine border, which he said created a climate of fear and intimidation.
Lavrov said that Moscow and Washington had agreed to work with the Ukrainian government and the country's people to overcome the crisis, after meeting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian agencies reported.
"We have agreed to work with the Ukrainian government and people to achieve progress in rights of minorities and linguistic rights," Lavrov told reporters after the talks, Interfax reported.
Lavrov and Kerry met following a phone call between U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian president Vladimir Putin last week, as both sides move to ease tensions in the worst East-West standoff since the Cold War.
He also said Russia and the United States agreed it was necessary to seek "points of tangency" in order to reach a common position on the diplomatic resolution of the crisis.
Meanwhile America's top general in Europe has been sent back early from a trip to Washington in what the Pentagon called a prudent step given Russia's "lack of transparency" about troop movements across the border with Ukraine.
General Philip Breedlove, who is both NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe and the head of the U.S. military's European Command, arrived in Europe Saturday evening. He had been due to testify before Congress this week.
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel considered Breedlove's early return "the prudent thing to do, given the lack of transparency and intent from Russian leadership about their military movements across the border," a Pentagon spokesman said. Washington says there are 40,000 Russian troops on Ukraine's borders.
RUSSIA RAPS WESTERN CURBS ON CONTACT
Lavrov said Western powers had put unofficial restrictions in place, urging their diplomats in Moscow to boycott meetings attended by Russian officials and lawmakers on the sanctions list.
He said Russian diplomats in EU capitals had also been refused meetings with officials from EU foreign ministries.
Crimeans voted to secede from Ukraine and join Russia in a March 16 referendum dismissed as a sham by Western governments that say it violated Ukraine's constitution and was held only after Russian forces seized control of the region.
The West has threatened tougher sanctions against Russia's stuttering economy if Moscow invades eastern Ukraine.
The West has refused to recognize Crimea's absorption into Russia although U.S. officials acknowledge that the takeover of is not likely to be resolved soon. Instead, talks have homed in on warnings to Moscow not to go further into Ukraine.
U.S. officials are deeply worried about the massing of what they estimate are up to 40,000 Russian troops on Ukraine's border, which is stoking concerns in Washington and elsewhere that Russia is preparing a wider incursion into Ukraine.
While Moscow has said the buildup is part of normal Russian exercises only, Obama has described it as out of the ordinary that could be a precursor to other actions.
Germany is considering offering military support to some eastern European members of the NATO defense alliance in response to Russia's seizure of Crimea, news magazine Der Spiegel reported at the weekend.
The meeting in Paris comes days before a gathering of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels on Tuesday and Wednesday that is likely to focus on Ukraine and Russia's actions.
Lavrov, speaking on Russian television on Saturday, said Moscow had "no intention" of invading eastern Ukraine and reinforced a message from Putin that Moscow would settle - at least for now - for control over Crimea.
Lavrov, added, however that Russia was ready to protect the rights of Russian speakers, referring to what Moscow sees as threats to the lives of compatriots in eastern Ukraine.