The German government on Monday refused to recognize a controversial election in eastern Ukraine and threatened further sanctions against Russia "if the situation gets worse."
The German government did not recognize the Sunday election in the eastern part of Ukraine, German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said at a press conference in Berlin.
He said the so-called elected presidents of two self-proclaimed republics, Donetsk and Lugansk, in eastern Ukraine were "illegitimate" and had "no legal relevance."
The election did not contribute to the stabilization of the situation or strengthen territorial integrity, he said, "On the contrary, they complicate the crisis again."
Earlier, the European Union said it would not accept either the election or its results.
"If the situation worsens, it may also be necessary to consider a renewed intensification of sanctions," he warned.
On Monday, the Russian government reiterated that it respected the decision made by local residents in eastern Ukraine, and called for measures to ensure a "sustainable dialogue" between both sides of the conflict.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin told reporters that Moscow would "help in every possible way" to resolve the Ukraine crisis, but criticized the West's threats of new sanctions, calling them "counterproductive."
"Sanctions is an absolutely counterproductive method of tackling conflict situations. This has already been proven by history," he said.