Ukraine on Tuesday condemned as “destructive and provocative” Russia’s stance towards elections organized by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine next Sunday, saying Moscow’s recognition of the vote could wreck chances of bringing peace. The November 2 vote would be held in defiance of Ukrainian national elections last Sunday in which pro-Western parties, dedicated to holding the former Soviet republic together and negotiating a settlement to the conflict, triumphed. Russia announced Tuesday it will recognize the results of upcoming elections in Donetsk and Luhansk. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the voting would be important for the “legitimization of power” in the “People’s Republics” of Donetsk and Luhansk, not recognized by Kyiv or the West. “We expect the elections to be held as arranged and of course we will recognize their results,” Lavrov told Russia’s Izvestia paper and LifeNews TV in an interview published on his ministry’s website on Tuesday.
While the rest of Ukraine headed to the polls on Sunday, nearly three million voters were unable to cast ballots in the eastern part of the country, where months of fighting between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russia separatists has killed more than 3,700 people.
Rebel leaders in eastern Ukraine, who launched a rebellion against the Kyiv government in April, said they would conduct their own poll.
Commenting on last Sunday’s poll, Lavrov said that Russia will likely recognize the results, even though the voting took place “not on all of Ukraine’s territory.”
“I think we will recognize this election because it is very important for us that Ukraine finally will have authorities which do not fight one another, do not drag Ukraine to the West or to the East, but which will deal with the real problems facing the country,” Lavrov said.
Full Article: Ukraine Denounces Russian Stance on Rebel Vote in East.