News / Europe

Putin Questions Ukraine Vote Legitimacy

Russia's President Vladimir Putin speaks to journalists after meetings in Shanghai May 21, 2014.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin speaks to journalists after meetings in Shanghai May 21, 2014.
VOA News
Russian President Vladimir Putin is raising doubts about the legitimacy of Ukraine’s presidential election but said Russia is moving its troops away from the border to help create favorable conditions for Sunday's vote.

Putin said in Shanghai Wednesday that it will be difficult to build relations with people who come to power during what he called the "continuing punitive operation" in eastern Ukraine.

He was referring to Ukrainian military action against pro-Russian separatists and the arrests of two pro-Kremlin Russian journalists.

Ukrainian authorities said the reporters had portable anti-aircraft missiles in their cars.  Putin called that accusation "absolute rubbish."

During a visit to Mexico Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry took note of the announced troop pullback and said he hopes the situation is at a "good moment" where the Ukrainian people can determine their own future.
  • Ukrainian businessman, politician and presidential candidate Petro Poroshenko (right) meets supporters during his election campaign, in Odessa, May 21, 2014.
  • Former Ukrainian prime minister and current presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko (right) meets supporters during her election campaign, Konotop, May 21, 2014.
  • Ukrainian businessman, politician and presidential candidate Petro Poroshenko (left) meets supporters during his election campaign, in Odessa, May 21, 2014.
  • Former Ukrainian prime minister and current presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko (left) visits a hospital during her election campaign, in Sumy, May 21, 2014.
  • Local residents walk with their young children in a park, in Donetsk, May 21, 2014.
  • Workers stand near pipes at a gas compressor station near Uzhhorod. Russia has said state-controlled exporter Gazprom will not supply Ukraine with gas in June if Kyiv fails to pay in advance, May 21, 2014.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Wednesday that he has not seen any visible evidence of a Russian troop withdrawal.

"And I don't personally think that Russia signing a deal with China for gas that they've been working on for 10 years has any impact on what is about to happen in Ukraine, which the people hopefully are going to have a chance to have an election. And we welcome President Putin's statement two days ago that he has instructed the troops that have been bivouacked along the border of Ukraine to move back to their home bases," said Rasmussen.

"Hopefully we are in fact in a good moment, not a a moment of one party outwitting another, but at a constructive moment where there's the possibility of the people of Ukraine being able to determine their own future, and all of us trying to find a way to further deescalate the crisis. That's our goal and that's what we're focused on," he said.

Some reporting by Reuters, AP.

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Comment Sorting
by: Igor from: Russia
May 22, 2014 12:37 AM
Of course the election itself is compeletly illegal because it is held by the illegal government which pays no attention to democracy at all. It has been proved by their use of heavy weapons against civilians in the East, organizing the mass killing in Odessa, arresting and detaining foreign journalists. Can anynone believe in their dirty story that those journalists were carrying anti-air missiles in their car? In fact those in power in Kiev may place a nuclear bomb in a journanist's car after they arrest him. No legal government can do such a dirty job of a gangster.

by: unclesam20009 from: Shengzhen, China
May 22, 2014 12:36 AM
Maybe Mr Putin should raise doubt on the legitimacy of the referendum in Crimea in May and Russia's annexation of Crimea. Mr Putin supported the Crimea referendum, why he denied Chechen referendum?

by: Anonymous
May 21, 2014 6:01 PM
Lets question mr "Putin"'s legitimacy.

by: Mira from: Milan
May 21, 2014 12:39 PM
We must not buy any Russia 's goods,especially gas and oil! Putin is another Hitler!

by: John from: US
May 21, 2014 12:28 PM
He will question it unless it's a favorable outcome to him. I guess it will be harder to double and triple vote in the area's they are not occupying.

by: Anny from: China
May 21, 2014 8:41 AM
We are waiting to see the presidential election results. In my opinion, Russia will win.
In Response

by: Sundra from: Ukraine
May 21, 2014 12:28 PM
Anny, Russia in not in OUR elections in Ukraine. Russia will not be on the ballot. There will be no reference to Russia on the ballot. There will be no separation issues on the ballot. We are electing a new government that is not a puppet of Russia, as it has been in the past. Perhaps you need to get out of China for a first hand look?

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