One of the leaders of the pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk has said it would be an "appropriate step" for the region to join the Russian Federation following this weekend's referendum on independence.
The rebels say they received 89% backing for making the area near the Russian border independent from Ukraine.
Roman Lyagin, head of the electoral commission in Donetsk, told a press conference: "Joining the Russian Federation would probably be an appropriate step."
However, another of the movement's leaders, Denis Pushilin, said a decision on which country to join would only come after "consultation with experts".
European Union foreign ministers added 13 people to their visa ban and asset freeze list over Ukraine's crisis.
Well that’s the voting over, and no surprises so far. A ‘Yes’ vote claimed to be 89% in Donetsk, and suddenly Ukraine is no more.
Nearly 90 percent of voters in eastern Ukrainian region voted for self-rule, the head of the separatist election commission said.