MOSCOW, May 6 (RAPSI) - The Ukrainian Parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, on Tuesday voted against holding a referendum on federalisation which was expected to be held on May 25 along with presidential elections, lawmaker Alexander Briginec wrote on his Facebook page.

Three burning issues were set for the nationwide referendum including territorial integrity, decentralization of power and status of the Russian language in the country.

The political crisis erupted in Ukraine in late November 2013 after the government announced that it had halted the country’s association with the European Union. Mass protests, called Euromaidan, swept across the country and led to violent clashes between armed radicals and law enforcers in January and February 2014.

Pro-federalization rallies have swept southeastern regions of Ukraine since March after president Viktor Yanukovych fled the country.

In April Ukrainian parliament passed the bill toughening penalties for separatists. Under the bill, intentional acts aimed at territorial changes or state boundary adjustment will be punished by imprisonment for up to 12 years.

A special military operation to crack down on protests was launched in mid-April. Dozens of civilians were killed and injured during the clashes. The highest death toll was recorded in the city of Odessa where 46 people died and 214 were injured on May 2.