Thomson Reuters Foundation

Inform - Connect - Empower

France's Hollande says east Ukraine referendum does not count

Source: Reuters - Sun, 11 May 2014 16:12 GMT
Author: Reuters
Tweet Recommend Google + LinkedIn Email Print
Leave us a comment

BAKU, May 11 (Reuters) - French President Francois Hollande dismissed a referendum on self-rule in east Ukraine on Sunday, saying the only vote that mattered was a presidential election on May 25.

Separatist rebels went ahead with the vote in defiance of Ukraine's pro-Western government and one announced plans to form their own state bodies and military once results are announced on Monday.

Another said the vote would not split the former Soviet republic straight away, but would give the east greater autonomy and could lead to independence or unity with Russia.

Hollande said the vote was so makeshift it could not even be called a referendum. "I don't want to use the word referendum because there is no point," he said on arrival in Baku, capital of Azerbaijan, which, like Ukraine, was once part of the Moscow-led Soviet Union.

"The only election that counts is the one on May 25," he said in a reference to a planned nationwide ballot to choose a successor to Viktor Yanukovich, the pro-Russian president of Ukraine toppled by unrelenting protests.

Hollande also renewed a threat to launch a new wave of sanctions if the presidential election could not go ahead as planned.

In a joint statement, Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed on Saturday to support, if needed, tougher sanctions on Russia - affecting areas such as energy, defence, financial services and engineering - than European Union leaders outlined at a meeting in Brussels on March 6. (Reporting by Elizabeth Pineau; writing by Leigh Thomas; editing by Philippa Fletcher)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of the Thomson Reuters Foundation. For more information see our Acceptable Use Policy.

comments powered by Disqus