Merkel, Hollande Threaten Russia with More Sanctions
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande warned new sanctions might be approved against Moscow if May 25's Ukrainian presidential poll fails.
During their meeting in Germany's northern city of Stralsund, the two leaders called on Russia to withdraw "military threat along the Ukrainian border" and demanded that a "national dialogue" begin between sides of the conflict in Ukraine, according to the daily Die Welt.
Ukrainian authorities, for their part, were required to refrain from violence while trying to quell the ongoing unrest in their country in what Kiev describes as an "anti-terrorist" operation.
In a joint statement, Merkel and Hollande called for all participants in the standoff to "enable" the holding of a free and fair President elections on May 25 under the monitoring of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
They also expressed their belief that it is the OSCE which should broker a national dialogue.
Merkel reminded to journalists that sanctions against Russia were not "an end it itself", and that European leaders had discussed the option as early as March 6, warning the Kremlin that economic measures were possible in case of a further escalation in Ukraine.
The joint German and French declaration comes against the background of a planned referendum in the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, to the south and east of Ukraine, through which pro-Russian separatists call for choosing their status within Ukraine.
Despite calls by Russian President Vladimir Putin, rebels are adamant they are to hold the vote on Sunday, May 11.
Activists who have for weeks been occupying buildings across a number of towns and cities claim that Kiev's government has no legitimacy and insist they will not deem valid the presidential elections scheduled for May 25.
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So Merekel and Hollande, so you want Russia to calm the East and the South or you will threaten them with sanctions.
Being practical the only way Russia can do this is if it moves a peace keeping force into the East and South Ukraine.
If Russia did this you would apply sanctions as well.
So whatever Russia does or does not do it gets hit with sanctions.
The lucky thing is your sanctions are ineffective and a joke.