Russia says EU sanctions will hurt Ukraine peace efforts

MOSCOW Tue May 13, 2014 2:33pm EDT

A bodyguard hold his weapon during a rally to mark and celebrate the announcement of the results of the referendum on the status of Luhansk region in Luhansk May 12, 2014. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

A bodyguard hold his weapon during a rally to mark and celebrate the announcement of the results of the referendum on the status of Luhansk region in Luhansk May 12, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Valentyn Ogirenko

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia said on Tuesday new European Union sanctions will hinder efforts to defuse the crisis in Ukraine and urged the West to persuade Kiev to hold discussions on the country's future structure before a May 25 presidential election.

The results of self-rule referendums in the mainly Russian-speaking eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk "should be a clear signal to Kiev of the depth of the crisis" in Ukraine, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The Kremlin has stopped short of endorsing independence for the regions or their absorption into Russia but has said the referendums underscore the need for talks between the pro-Western government and separatists from the east.

"Moscow hopes ... the EU and United States will use their influence on the current leadership in Kiev so that issues of state structure and respect for the rights of regions are discussed soon - in any case before the election scheduled for May 25," it said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has suggested the Ukrainian election, which the government hopes will increase its legitimacy and control, will not be legitimate if people in the east are not confident their rights will be protected.

The EU imposed sanctions on two Crimean companies and 13 people on Monday in response to Moscow's annexation of the Black Sea peninsula from Ukraine and its support for Russian-speaking separatists.

The EU had already imposed asset freezes and visa bans on 48 Russians and Ukrainians, and the United States has also imposed sanctions during the worst crisis in relations between Moscow and the West since the Cold War.

Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin told the EU envoy to Russia on Tuesday that the EU sanctions were a "exhausted, trite approach ... that will not only not resolve but will deepen differences, hindering the joint search for a way out of the real crisis situation in Ukraine," the Foreign Ministry said.

(Writing by Steve Gutterman, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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Comments (20)
WestFlorida wrote:
Russia is working *so* hard at *peace efforts* in the Ukraine.

May 13, 2014 6:24am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Calfri wrote:
Reuters works hard to uphold Russia’s lies through a kind of funhouse style lens of evenhandedness.

May 13, 2014 7:16am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Neurochuck wrote:
There does not seem to be any acceptable mediator between the apparently uncompromising positions in Kiev and Donetsk – the UN deadlock seems to have sidelined it.
There seems a real 50pct chance of a Syria style civil war, with millions of women, children, elderly and others evacuated to refugee camps in Poland and Russia.
And various problems for the European and world economy.
And the USA and Russia with their fingers on the Mutually Assured Destruction buttons.

May 13, 2014 7:28am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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