News / Europe

    Ukraine Awaits Results of Controversial Election

    Election officials empty a ballot box during rebel elections at a polling station in the city of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Nov. 2, 2014.
    Election officials empty a ballot box during rebel elections at a polling station in the city of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Nov. 2, 2014.
    VOA News

    Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine have voted in controversial elections that Kyiv and the West say they will not recognize.  

    The separatists who control parts of eastern Ukraine's Luhansk and Donetsk regions held elections Sunday for leadership and legislative bodies in the areas they control.

    Quoting election officials of the so-called Donetsk People's Republic, or DNR, Russian news agencies reported that with more than 50 percent of the ballots cast counted, Alexander Zakharchenko, the acting DNR prime minister, was in the lead in the contest to become DNR leader, with more than 70 percent of the vote.

    International condemnation

    The United Nations, the European Union and the United States have called the rebel vote illegal, saying it violates Ukraine's constitution and the cease-fire agreement reached September 5 between separatists and Ukraine's government.

    The EU's new foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said Sunday that the bloc would not recognize the vote, which she called "a new obstacle on the path towards peace in Ukraine."

    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called the election in the separatist regions "a farce that is being conducted under the threat of tanks and guns."

    Russia to respect rebel vote results

    Russia's Foreign Ministry released a statement late Sunday saying it respected the separatist vote as an expression of the will of the inhabitants of southeastern Ukraine, Russian news agencies reported.

    The ministry also said that in light of the election, "it is extremely important to take active steps to establish a sustainable dialogue" between Ukraine's central government and the separatists in line with cease-fire agreement signed between the two sides on September 5.  

    EU leaders have urged Russia to ignore those results.

    Western officials say the vote could further complicate efforts to end the crisis in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Moscow rebels want to join Russia.  Even with the two-month-old cease-fire, there have been daily outbreaks of fighting in some parts of eastern Ukraine.

    Troop movements

    Earlier Sunday, the Ukrainian military said there was "intensive" movement of troops and weapons from Russia into separatist-controlled areas in eastern Ukraine where the voting was taking place.

    News agencies reported seeing columns of unmarked military trucks, some with anti-aircraft guns, heading toward the government-held airport in rebel-held Donetsk, but it was unclear whether they were new or existing forces in the rebel-held region.

    The election in eastern Ukraine comes a week after parliamentary elections were held throughout the remainder of Ukraine, with candidates favoring closer ties with other European countries winning a significant plurality of the seats. People living in the east did not vote in the October 26 balloting.

    After casting his vote Sunday, the DNR's acting prime minister, Alexander Zakharchenko, said if Kyiv would recognize the pro-Russian separatist region, an economic relationship could be normalized.

    "If they recognize us [Donetsk People's Republic] and return our lost land without a fight, then we will restore normal economic ties [with Ukraine] and will live like equal economic partners," he said.

    The United Nations says more than 4,000 people have died in the fighting between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russia rebels.

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    Comment Sorting
    by: Orest from: Washington D.C.
    November 05, 2014 6:05 PM
    ruSSia needs to get out of Ukraine. The people of Donbass didn't vote as much as the ruSSian's puppets and mercenaries who crossed the border to vote.

    ruSSia needs to be stopped NOW!
    In Response

    by: Zach from: Ohio
    November 07, 2014 7:47 PM
    Orest lol, you are delusional. Self determination is a human right. It makes no sense to respect the will of the people in the west and then to deny the will of the people in the east. Ukraine must realize that violently forcing a people to act against their will is bad policy. How long do they intend to keep these people hostage in a state they do not want to be a part of? No amount of guns or heavy artillery can change their minds. Let the people choose their fate

    by: elizabeth from: canada
    November 03, 2014 8:52 AM
    What kind of constitution they are talking about? They illegally against constitution overturned legal government in february, poroshenko himself is illegal president of ulraine, doesn't recognized illegal ndr government. Let the people to decide. And obama and his eu vassals can continue their illegal occupation of Iraq and illegal bombing of Syria.

    by: Harald Forkbeard from: USA
    November 02, 2014 7:33 PM
    The people of Donbass have every right to choose their own way. Regardless of what the IMF, EUSSR, and Obamacare think about it.

    God bless and good speed.
    In Response

    by: Stinger
    November 03, 2014 6:42 PM
    Actually yes it does, the right to self-determination is written in the UN charter. We all know national law are trivial compared to national law, otherwise despot state like US would be doing great evils. On the hand removing the previous government was violation of national law as you put. American sshhh,
    In Response

    by: Stern
    November 03, 2014 1:20 AM
    Actually, no, they do not, any more than a USA state as the right to "choose its own way" in violation of national law.

    by: fixento from: PA
    November 02, 2014 4:32 PM
    President Petro Poroshenko is a hypocrite by calling this western Ukraine election a farce. He was elected in eastern Ukraine without counting the votes of 1.2 million western Ukrainians. The Ukraine constitution allows all ALL Ukrainians citizens of legal voting age to participate in the elections and their right to vote. Petro is trying to be a little pregnant - a condition that not possible, claim what may but I doubt he's legally a president with the exclusion of 1.2 million people.

    by: George from: Candidate
    November 02, 2014 3:36 PM
    People have right to their determination .

    by: Alexander from: Europe
    November 02, 2014 3:35 PM
    This is no election, it is a parody of democracy. The (pro)Russians told people they would not receive any pensions if they do not vote. So old people were forced to participate if they did not want to starve. Nobody monitored the fairness of the election process, just a couple if European nazis played the role of election observers.
    Russia is no democracy and so are the proxy states that Russia creates in post soviet space.

    by: echo from: lebanon
    November 02, 2014 2:56 PM
    I really wonder how eastern ukrainian call for freedom is deemed as illegal while Hong Kong occupy movement is actually regarded as pro-democracy.Who can decide that?

    by: Kerfala from: Liberia
    November 02, 2014 10:28 AM
    If it's truth that the real meaning of democracy is the respect of people right. The world(EU-USA) need to welcome the result of separatists election just to balance the right of everybody in Ukraine conflict.

    by: Anonymous from: Germany
    November 02, 2014 10:09 AM
    Russia is evil
    In Response

    by: World Hates Yanks
    November 04, 2014 8:58 AM
    "Westerners simply cannot imagine the horror of everyday Russian life that makes possible a rigged election in invaded Crimea or invaded Ukraine."

    lol what? So everything bad because westerners are stupid? Glad someone dismissed international bodies who regulated the vote. Apparently lying and acting as idiot is common trend for attention seeking yanks.
    In Response

    by: Mr nobody from: USA
    November 02, 2014 11:11 PM
    Yes, evil, drunk, broke, jealous, proud, and desperate. Why not live in a world of fantasy?

    Their mere existence is so desperate and bleak that the parody of an election in eastern Ukraine makes sense to them.
    Westerners simply cannot imagine the horror of everyday Russian life that makes possible a rigged election in invaded Crimea or invaded Ukraine.

    Even as the tanks roll in they simply stand back in shock. Unable even to run as the inevitable approaches.
    In Response

    by: Francis from: Washington
    November 02, 2014 5:50 PM
    So what's that make Germany?
    In Response

    by: jogn from: usa
    November 02, 2014 4:57 PM
    What about USA in Libya and Syria ??

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