The United States, on Tuesday, warned Russia against giving official recognition to elections planned by pro-Moscow separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine, stating that it would be a “clear violation of the commitments made by both Russia and the separatists.”
“The United States, along with the rest of the international community, will not recognize so-called separatist elections, unless they happen within the framework of the special status law passed by Ukraine’s parliament and signed by President (Petro) Poroshenko,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said at a press briefing in the Canadian capital city of Ottawa. “We continue to support Ukraine in its efforts to promote reform, fight corruption, pursue a peaceful resolution to the conflict in the east, and ultimately end the occupation of Crimea.”
Ukraine held elections on Sunday under an agreement between the government in Kiev and pro-Moscow separatists, signed on Sept. 5 in Minsk, which reportedly called for local elections to be held in accordance with Ukrainian law. Preliminary results, disclosed on Monday, indicated that the pro-western bloc, headed by Poroshenko, was leading. The final results of the elections are scheduled to be announced on Thursday.
Following Sunday's elections, the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk announced plans to elect regional leaders in eastern Ukraine, according to media reports.
And, Kerry’s remarks were made in response to a statement by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday, in which the latter reportedly said that Russia will recognize the results of the planned rebel ballot.
“We expect the elections will go ahead as agreed, and we will of course recognize the results,” Lavrov reportedly said, adding that the elections in the conflict-ridden Donetsk and Luhansk regions “will be important to legitimize the authorities there.”