France, Germany threaten Russia over Ukraine polls

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Ukraine
London, May 10: France and Gremany have threatened Russia with more sanctions if the Ukraine presidential election scheduled for May 25 fails to take place, a media report said Saturday.

French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a statement that they feared destabilisation of Ukraine and also deemed the Donetsk referendum scheduled for Sunday as illegal, BBC reported.

The statement was issued after the two leaders met in Germany Friday.

They also called for a reduction of the Russian forces along the Ukraine border.

According to NATO, Russia still has around 40,000 troops near the border.

However, Russia said Thursday it has pulled back its troops.

The European Union (EU) April 29 imposed fresh travel bans and assets freeze on 15 Russian officials.

The new list has brought the total number of Russian officials under the EU sanctions to 48.

The US April 28 also announced sanctions against Russia, targeting seven government officials and 17 companies.

Among these officials, two were from Russian President Vladimir Putin's inner circle.

The statement has requested Ukraine to refrain from military action in the eastern part of the country before the polls.

IANS

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