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France and Germany warn Russia of further sanctions if Ukraine's presidential election is derailed

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France and Germany warn Russia of further sanctions if Ukraine's presidential election is derailed

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France and Germany have warned Russia of further consequences if Ukraine’s presidential election on May 25 is cancelled.

Both Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Francois Hollande said they are concerned about further destabilisation in Ukraine.

Speaking in Stralsung in northern Germany both leaders requested Kyiv to refrain from using force unless necessary to protect people or property.

Angela Merkel said the May 25 presidential election is a key vote:
“We consider the referendum scheduled for tomorrow illegitimate and we will focus on the national elections of May 25. We have decided, that the next two weeks are decisive in view of the preparation for this May 25 election, we need to make it clear to the Russian president that he has to send further de-escalations signals, in order to make this election possible,” she said.

Mr Putin marked the 1945 Soviet victory over the Nazis in Crimea a move criticised by the NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen as “inappropriate.”

Putin was greeted as a conquering hero as he strolled round Sevastopol.

The interim government in Kyiv described his visit as “gross violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty:”