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International observers arrive in Crimea ahead of vote

International observers invited by Russia and Crimean authorities have arrived in Simferopol ahead of Sunday's referendum.

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Russian stance makes progress 'formidably difficult'

Foreign Secretary William Hague has said Russia's unwillingness to de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine has made it a "formidably difficult task" for a diplomatic solution to be reached.

Mr Hague said the US-Russia talks being held by John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov in London would work towards a "breakthrough", adding "every effort will be made to find a diplomatic way forward" over the next few hours in the capital.

But he added that it was "realistic" to prepare action should Sunday's internationally unsolicited referendum in Crimea go ahead with a meeting of EU foreign ministers set for Monday.

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