Ukraine crisis: Obama not to meet Putin, says US

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Donetsk, the most populous region of Ukraine and its industrial backbone is holding a referendum on May 11, 2014. The separatist leaders announced their decision to hold referendum on May 8. In the meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed on dialogue and wants the referendum to be postponed.

‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ of Donetsk gathered together to hold an independence referendum. The question put to voters: "Do you support the act of proclamation of independent sovereignty for the Donetsk People's Republic?''

The decision to press ahead with the vote was announced by separatist leaders in Donetsk and Luhansk. The unanimous decision by the “Donetsk People’s Council” escalated the crisis and the break-up of Ukraine seems an imminent possibility. On May 11, it will vote on whether to become an independent republic, a possible step towards joining Russia. Ukrainian authorities say they will disregard the results and that "anti-terror" operations will continue.

If the pro-Russian activist leader Mr Pushilin’s movement succeeds, then Ukraine is only days away from losing another 10,000 square miles of territory and 10 percent of its population, after Crimea’s secession in March.

US President Barack Obama has no plans to meet one-on-one with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in June when both attend the D-Day anniversary in France, the White House said. Russia's intervention in the political crisis in Ukraine has triggered the worst chill in relations between Washington and the Moscow since the end of the Cold War.

“The United States will levy new sanctions on May 12 on Russian individuals and companies,” Obama said.

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