Warsaw: Ukraine risks turning into a failed or painfully divided state unless the European Union effectively supports its upcoming presidential elections, Poland`s prime minister said on Tuesday.
"In the next few days or weeks, the fate of the Ukrainian state will be decided," Donald Tusk told reporters in Warsaw, adding that the EU must "concentrate on the kind of help that will allow Ukraine to hold elections on May 25th".
"Today, I would mobilise the entire European Union and NATO around the real risk or threat that the Ukrainian state could fall, or at least be subject to a very painful split," he said.
In a separate speech in Bucharest, Romanian president Traian Basescu said Ukraine faces the risk of "dismemberment" if the vote does not take place.
"It is an imperious need for the election to take place on the whole Ukrainian territory including in Donetsk and Lugansk", two cities held by pro-Russian separatists, Basescu stressed.
He said Russia`s objective was to "disrupt the election (...) in order to take control of Ukraine as a whole or in part".
"We do not believe Russia wants to invade Ukraine but we believe its goal is to dismember it", he added.
Romania and Poland, two former Communist states who are now member of NATO and the EU, have repeatedly pleaded for a firm stand against Russia in the Ukrainian crisis.
Tusk also questioned an ultimatum by Russian gas giant Gazprom that Ukraine had until June 2 to pay $1.6 billion (1.2 billion euros) for natural gas or Moscow will turn off its energy supplies.
"There are various estimates about the cost for (Russia`s) annexation of Crimea. Today, it`s difficult to say who`s in debt to whom," he said.
"Is Ukraine in debt to Gazprom and Russia? Or is Russia, in light of international law, in fact in debt to Ukraine because it took over its territory complete with infrastructure and the gas fields surrounding Crimea?"
Violence has flared for weeks in eastern Ukraine as government troops carry out operations against well-armed separatists who seized several cities and towns in the chaos that followed the ouster of Ukraine`s pro-Russian leader Viktor Yanukovych in February.