BRUSSELS (Reuters) - An election of separatist leaders in eastern Ukraine is an obstacle to peace and the European Union will not recognize it, the EU's new foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said on Sunday.

"I consider today's 'presidential and parliamentary elections' in Donetsk and Luhansk 'People's Republics' a new obstacle on the path toward peace in Ukraine. The vote is illegal and illegitimate, and the European Union will not recognize it," Mogherini said in a statement after pro-Russian rebels elected a separatist leadership.

Early local elections in accordance with Ukrainian law, as foreseen in the Minsk agreement, were "the legal and legitimate means of renewing the democratic mandate of the local authorities in these parts of Ukraine. I call on all sides to work toward such elections," she said.