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US denounces planned separatist voting in eastern Ukraine

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WASHINGTON — The White House is denouncing plans by some Ukrainian separatists to hold elections Sunday in the eastern region of the country. It's urging Russia to condemn what U.S. officials call an illegitimate vote this weekend.

In a statement, National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said the vote would go against Ukraine's constitution and violate a cease-fire deal reached in Minsk, Belarus, last month.

Meehan said the United States will not recognize any results from the voting and urged other nations to do the same.

She said the U.S. is warning Russia not to use the results of the voting as a pretext to make military moves into Ukraine.

The foreign ministers of four Central European countries and Britain also condemned the election plans on Friday.

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