Russia announced Tuesday that it will recognize the results of elections that separatist rebels have planned to hold in eastern Ukraine on Nov. 2. The latest announcement by the Russian government comes as Ukraine’s pro-Western leaders have reportedly negotiated for the formation of a coalition government.
While Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that next week’s elections in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions “will be important to legitimize the authorities there,” Ukraine and Western governments, who have accused Russia of supporting the rebels, have argued against separate elections in eastern Ukraine, Agence France-Presse, or AFP, reported.
“We expect the elections will go ahead as agreed, and we will of course recognize the results,” AFP quoted Lavrov as saying to Izvestia daily.
Although a truce went into effect on Sept. 5, several violations have been reported over the past few weeks. Amid increasing tensions, Ukraine has also urged Russia to ensure that pro-Moscow separatists do not hold elections in the east.
“Russia's intentions directly contradict the Minsk accord, undermine the agreed process on deescalation and peaceful resolution, and continue to weaken trust in it (Russia) as a reliable international partner,” Dmytro Kuleba, a senior official in the Ukrainian foreign ministry, told AFP.
Ukraine went to the polls Sunday as part of its first parliamentary election after the ouster of pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych in February. A partial vote count showed on Monday that pro-Europe parties had secured a big win in the elections, with President Petro Poroshenko hailing the people's support for his plan to end a separatist war.
“The majority of voters were in favor of the political forces that support the president's peace plan and seek a political solution to the situation in the Donbass,” Reuters quoted Poroshenko as saying.