"By recognizing the quasi-elections in eastern Ukraine, Russia has once again breached its international obligations, in particular the Minsk Agreement,” Klimkin said in the interview, which was published on Tuesday.

“It is quite obvious that the Kremlin has shown disrespectful behavior towards the EU and the Western World.

"If the West wants Russia to consider its opinion important, and [for Moscow] to adhere to the norms of international law, then the next logical step would be to put pressure on the Kremlin by all possible means. This includes the strengthening of the sanctions.”

According to Klimkin, the holding the elections in the breakaway districts of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions of Ukraine will not change the situation.

"These were rigged elections, with fake observers, fake voter lists and illegitimate results,” Klimkin said.

“Indeed, some areas of eastern Ukraine are under the control of pro-Russian terrorists and Russian troops. But these are Ukrainian regions - and we will regain them."

As reported previously, Russia has officially recognized the elections held by the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk Peoples’ Republics on Sunday. The Russian authorities also said that polling stations for the vote were located on Russian territories for Ukrainian citizens in Russia who were displaced by the fighting in Ukraine.

The Ukrainian authorities, along with the United States and the European Union, have said the holding of the vote was a violation of the September 5 Minsk Protocol, an agreement that was designed to end the fighting in the east of Ukraine. They said that they would not recognize the results of the vote, or the leaders elected under them.

Bild's interview with Klimkin (in German) is here: