Ukraine Crisis: Russia faces more heat

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The international community is keeping a close watch on the scheduled presidential vote in Ukraine on May 25, 2014.

“The presidential vote will be crucial in bringing the country out of crisis, said German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. The foreign minister is in Kiev to work out a diplomatic solution to the ongoing Ukraine crisis.

After meeting the acting Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsya, the German foreign minister expressed hope that the steps in Ukraine would “bring back occupied territory, disarm armed groups step-by-step, and reinstall the authority of the state.”

Germany, France and UK have suggested that Russia would be further punished if it destabilised Ukraine's planned presidential elections.

Later, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that fresh EU sanctions would hinder efforts to diffuse the crisis. It urged the West to persuade Kiev to carry on the dialogue process so as to determine Ukraine’s future structure.

The pro-Russian activists of the East, Donetsk and Luhansk have declared themselves as separate states. On the other hand, the EU foreign ministers have added 13 people to their visa ban and asset freeze list over the crisis in Ukraine, but are not expected to impose tough economic measures on Russia before Ukraine’s elections, according to reports.

The 28 EU ministers also said that the two firms in Russia- annexed Crimea would be hit with asset freezes. The ministers agreed to expand the scope of visa bans and asset freezes to target people undermining stability in Ukraine or obstructing international organisations there.

Russia annexed Ukraine's southern independent republic of Crimea in March following a controversial referendum. The Ukrainian government fears a similar outcome in Donetsk, Luhansk and parts of southern Ukraine.

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