STRALSUND Germany (Reuters) - Germany and France will draw the "appropriate consequences" if the May 25 election in Ukraine does not go ahead as planned, Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande said in a joint statement issued on Saturday.
Speaking to reporters after the statement was released, Merkel said that if the May 25 elections fail then "we are ready to take further sanctions against Russia."
In their statement, the two leaders said: "If there is not an internationally recognised presidential election, that would lead unavoidably to a further destabilisation of the country. Germany and France are in agreement that if that is the case then corresponding consequences would be drawn as outlined by the European Council on March 6, 2014."
That is a clear reference to the third stage of sanctions, especially economic sanctions against Russia, that European Union leaders agreed on March 6.
At the same time, Germany and France called upon all sides to start disarming irregular forces under the auspices of the OSCE by May 15 at the latest. All parties are called upon to cease acts of violence. They also called upon Russia to reduce
(Reporting by Andreas Rinke in Stralsund; writing by Erik Kirschbaum in Berlin and Leigh Thomas in Paris)