Germany’s foreign minister, visiting the Ukrainian city of Donetsk, has said people in the eastern region which lies close to Russia fear a similar scenario to that unfolding in Crimea.
Frank-Walter Steinmeier also called for international financial support for Ukraine – comments echoed by the EU’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton who said Ukraine’s economy must not be allowed to “fall over”.
Steinmeier added that the Crimean crisis must not be allowed to create new division in Europe.
“We have heard very clearly today the very strong wish, that the new Ukraine should be a united Ukraine and there should be no break up,” he told a joint press conference with the region’s governor Serhiy Taruta.
Steinmeier said 400 observers from the OSCE would soon arrive in the region to monitor the situation, following recent political violence.
Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague has said in an article for the Sunday Telegraph that European nations should not “run scared” before what he described as Russia’s “bullying behaviour”.
In Donetsk more than 5,000 pro-Russian residents demonstrated in favour of ousted President Yanukovych. They also called for a referendum on the region’s status.