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US slams Russia as Ukraine war fears rise

Published on May 7, 2014 11:31 AM
Nato Supreme Allied Commander Europe and Commander of the US European Command General Philip Breedlove speaks during a news conference at the National Defence headquarters in Ottawa May 6, 2014. Nato will have to consider permanently stationing troops in eastern Europe as a result of the increased tension between Russia and Ukraine, the alliance's top military commander Breedlove said on Tuesday. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

SLAVYANSK, Ukraine (AFP) - The United States accused Russia of plotting to annex more of Ukraine's territory via a "bogus" referendum as Moscow rejected a new peace initiative ahead of talks with the pan-European OSCE.

Western leaders including French President Francois Hollande warned that skirmishing in Ukraine's east could trigger all-out civil war, and see a May 25 presidential poll as crucial to hauling the country back from the brink.

But pro-Moscow rebels plan their own vote on Sunday in the eastern cities of Donetsk and Luhansk, which US Secretary of State John Kerry said mirrored what happened with Ukraine's Crimea peninsula in March when it voted to join Russia.

"This is really the Crimea playbook all over again, and no civilised nation is going to recognise the results of such a bogus effort," Mr Kerry told reporters.

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