The United States has joined the European Union in condemning plans by Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine to hold “elections,” calling them “phony procedures” that undermine peace efforts in the region. “The United States condemns the announcement of a plan to conduct ‘elections’ in the so-called ‘Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics,'” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement on September 12. “Given the continued control of these territories by the Russian Federation, genuine elections are inconceivable, and grossly contravene Russia’s commitments under the Minsk agreements,” she added, referring to September 2014 and February 2015 pacts aimed at resolving the conflict. She said that by “engineering phony procedures,” Moscow was exhibiting “its disregard for international norms and is undermining efforts to achieve peace in eastern Ukraine.”
On September 8, EU foreign-policy chief Federica Mogherini also criticized the plan and called on Moscow to use its influence to stop the planned November 11 vote from taking place.
Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry also decried the announcement by the separatist officials in the Donbas region.
“If fake ‘early elections’ are conducted, their outcome will be legally void, they will not create any legal consequences, and will not be recognized by Ukraine or the global community,” the ministry said in a statement on September 7.