Separatist referendum would exacerbate Ukraine crisis: Germany

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany believes that a referendum planned by pro-Russian separatists in the eastern Ukraine city of Donetsk next week would violate the constitution of the country and make the situation there even worse, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman said on Monday.

Activists who have occupied regional offices in Donetsk have proclaimed the creation of their own republic and want to hold a referendum on secession on May 11, which could complicate the Ukrainian presidential election, scheduled for May 25.

“Such a referendum, against the Ukrainian constitution, does not calm things down but escalates them,” Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert told a news conference, adding that the people who had called the vote had no democratic legitimacy.

Reporting by Stephen Brown; Editing by Noah Barkin