Britain says it believes Russia is trying to destabilise Ukraine

LONDON, April 8 Tue Apr 8, 2014 6:45am EDT

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LONDON, April 8 (Reuters) - Britain said on Tuesday events in eastern Ukraine looked to be part of a Russian strategy to destabilise the country, saying it was "gravely concerned" by pro-Russian protesters' seizure of government buildings.

"There can be no justification for this action, which bears all the hallmarks of a Russian strategy to destabilise Ukraine," British Foreign Secretary William Hague told parliament, saying the seizures looked like part of a strategy to damage the credibility of Ukraine's forthcoming presidential election.

Police detained 70 people occupying a regional administration building in eastern Ukraine overnight, but pro-Moscow protesters held out in a standoff in two other cities in what Kiev called a Russian-led plan to dismember the country.

(Reporting by William James and Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Andrew Osborn)

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