News / Europe

US Says It Does Not Recognize E. Ukraine Polls

FILE - White House Spokesman Jay Carney
FILE - White House Spokesman Jay Carney
VOA News
The United States says it does not recognize the results of “so-called” referendums held on Sunday in eastern Ukraine, viewing them as "a transparent attempt to create disorder."

White House spokesman Jay Carney offered the assessment at a press briefing on Monday, a day after pro-Russia separatists held votes in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions claiming overwhelming popular support for the regions’ secession from Ukraine.

"We do not recognize the results," Carney said.

He expressed disappointment that Russia not only did not use its leverage to forestall the votes but that Russian media even attempted to legitimize them.

He also expressed concern over apparent efforts to disrupt Ukraine's presidential elections, scheduled for May 25, saying that international efforts should now be centered on allowing Ukraine to hold a free and fair poll.

Carney gave credit to Kyiv authorities for what he said were efforts to address grievances of residents of Ukraine's east through negotiations.

Holding "illegal referendums" and "annexing parts of countries" is not a way forward, he added.

Kyiv and Western governments have been accusing Moscow of orchestrating the current unrest in Ukraine’s east and south.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called for an end to the undermining of Ukraine's territorial integrity.

“Over the past weeks there has been much violence and little dialogue. I call on all those who have sought to undermine Ukraine’s unity, territorial integrity and stability to immediately cease such actions. The authorities in Kyiv should also continue to respond to such acts with the maximum restraint and within the parameters of Ukrainian law and international human rights principles,” said Ban.

Pleas for Russian troops, annexation

The pro-Russian separatist mayor of Ukraine’s eastern city of Slovyansk said on Monday his region needed Russian troops to provide stability and peace.
FILE - Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, separatist mayor of Slovyansk in eastern Ukraine, holds up a referendum ballot.FILE - Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, separatist mayor of Slovyansk in eastern Ukraine, holds up a referendum ballot.
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FILE - Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, separatist mayor of Slovyansk in eastern Ukraine, holds up a referendum ballot.
FILE - Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, separatist mayor of Slovyansk in eastern Ukraine, holds up a referendum ballot.


Speaking a day after controversial referendums in eastern Ukraine, Vyacheslav Ponomaryov described Ukrainian troops there as occupiers.

“They should go ... We're going to defend our territory,” he said in his sandbagged administrative building in Slovyansk, the most heavily defended rebel city in the east.

Earlier Monday, separatist leaders in Donetsk region appealed to Moscow  to consider its absorption into the Russian Federation to “restore historic justice.”

Pro-Russian separatists in Luhansk region followed suit, the Associated Press reported.

Similar moves precipitated Russia's annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region in March.

The call in Donetsk was made by Denis Pushilin, a leading member of the self-declared “Donetsk People's Republic,” at a news conference in the city..
Denis Pushilin, senior member of the pro-Russia separatist rebellion leadership, meets with journalists in Donetsk, May 12, 2014.Denis Pushilin, senior member of the pro-Russia separatist rebellion leadership, meets with journalists in Donetsk, May 12, 2014.
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Denis Pushilin, senior member of the pro-Russia separatist rebellion leadership, meets with journalists in Donetsk, May 12, 2014.
Denis Pushilin, senior member of the pro-Russia separatist rebellion leadership, meets with journalists in Donetsk, May 12, 2014.

"Based on the will of the people and on the restoration of a historic justice, we ask the Russian Federation to consider the absorption of the Donetsk People's Republic into the Russian Federation,” he said.

Pushilin said Ukraine, Belarus and Russia - states that formed the core of the now defunct Soviet Union - belonged in a restored historic union.

The results of the Donetsk and Luhansk votes should be implemented peacefully, Russia said earlier, without saying what further action it might take.

Meanwhile, Moscow has called on Ukraine's government on Monday to hold a nationwide debate of the country's future structure in light of the poll results in the country’s east.

Kyiv, EU denounce votes

Ukraine's acting president, Oleksandr Turchynov, has slammed the rebel-held referendums as a "propaganda farce without any legal basis."
 
However, he added that he wanted to "continue dialogue with those in the east of Ukraine who have no blood on their hands and who are ready to defend their goals in a legitimate way."
Secessionist referendum official Alexander Malyhin holds a document as he speaks to journalists in the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk May 12, 2014.Secessionist referendum official Alexander Malyhin holds a document as he speaks to journalists in the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk May 12, 2014.
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Secessionist referendum official Alexander Malyhin holds a document as he speaks to journalists in the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk May 12, 2014.
Secessionist referendum official Alexander Malyhin holds a document as he speaks to journalists in the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk May 12, 2014.


The European Union has also condemned the votes as illegal. European Union foreign ministers added two Crimean companies and 13 people to the bloc's sanctions list, EU diplomats said. These are in addition to 48 Russians and Ukrainians who have already been targeted with EU asset freezes and visa bans.

The EU ministers also hinted on Monday that any disruption of elections in Ukraine on May 25 could trigger new economic sanctions against Russia.
 
But the EU remains far behind the United States in the severity of the sanctions it has imposed on Russia. Some European governments fear tough trade sanctions on Russia could undermine their own economies, just recovering from the financial crisis, and provoke Russian retaliation.
 
Coup accusations

Turchynov also accused Russia of working to overthrow legitimate state authorities in Ukraine on Monday after pro-Russian rebels declared a resounding victory in referendums in Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
FILE - Ukraine's acting President Oleksandr TurchynovFILE - Ukraine's acting President Oleksandr Turchynov
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FILE - Ukraine's acting President Oleksandr Turchynov
FILE - Ukraine's acting President Oleksandr Turchynov
 

Turchynov said the Kremlin was trying to disrupt a presidential election scheduled for May 25 which is taking center stage in a confrontation pitting Moscow along with pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine against the government in Kyiv and its Western backers.

Ukraine's May 25 election is intended to secure democratic continuity and legitimacy after pro-Moscow president Viktor Yanukovych fled the country in February, and Western governments have threatened more sanctions in the vital areas of energy, financial services and engineering if Moscow disrupts the vote.

Separatists to form own army

Following Sunday's referendums, separatist leaders in Donetsk say they will form their own army and expect all forces affiliated with Kyiv to leave the region.
A pro-Russian gunman stands guard outside an administrative building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk May 12, 2014.A pro-Russian gunman stands guard outside an administrative building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk May 12, 2014.
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A pro-Russian gunman stands guard outside an administrative building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk May 12, 2014.
A pro-Russian gunman stands guard outside an administrative building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk May 12, 2014.


Ukraine’s government is already struggling with its anti-separatist military campaign and is reported to be short on men.  Analysts say they fear the authorities are likely to rely on irregulars more and that the fighting could spread beyond the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, which voted Sunday.

Luhansk separatist leader Valery Bolotov said now that the plebiscites are over, his pro-Russian militiamen as well as separatists from Donetsk will start turning their attention elsewhere to help other regions agitate for a break from Ukraine.
 
He said separatists will not enter into any talks with Kyiv and that the only negotiations currently are about prisoner and hostage exchanges.

TV wars

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urged Western ambassadors on Monday to base the reports they write for their countries about the crisis in Ukraine on what they see on Russian television.

Lavrov accused Ukraine of blocking Russian television broadcasts onto its territory and, echoing charges by Kyiv about Moscow, said the fellow former Soviet republic's media were broadcasting lies about the crisis.

They are trying to set up an information blockade and, with unbiased information closed off to viewers and radio listeners, run completely shameless lies,” Lavrov told a news conference.

“The ambassadors in Moscow obviously see what Russian TV is showing in live broadcasts and I am sure they are obliged to report to their capitals the facts they see live. Otherwise they would be doing a totally unprofessional job,” said Lavrov.

Russian media, most under direct or indirect government control, are widely viewed in the West as distorting news about events in Ukraine both for internal and external consumption.

Moscow turns up pressure on Kyiv

Russian state-controlled gas company Gazprom has reiterated its threat to stop supplying Ukraine with gas if it does not pay in advance for June deliveries, Russian news agencies reported on Monday.

Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said Gazprom will present Ukraine's state energy company Naftogaz with a bill for June on Tuesday, demanding payment by June 2, the reports said.
          
He said the amount of gas to be supplied would be zero if no payment is made.

Gazprom says Ukraine owes it $3.51 billion and has warned in recent weeks that it would demand pre-payment for gas from next month.

President Vladimir Putin warned European gas customers last month that deliveries could be disrupted if Gazprom cuts supplies to transit nation Ukraine.

Jamie Dettmer contributed to this story from Donetsk. Some reporting by Reuters.
 

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Comments page of 5
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by: Archie1954 from: Canada
May 18, 2014 12:11 AM
Does anyone really care any more what the US will do or won't do? The World is so used to American interference in other nation's internal affairs that it just sits back and allows the Americans to make fools of themselves over and over. Sooner or later someone in the US government will finally realize that they have stepped in it again and run off to clean up their shoes.

by: S Petrov from: West Siberia
May 13, 2014 2:39 PM
World must all hail Vlad Putin of Russia.......Putin The merciful! Putin the magnificent!!

by: alex from: california
May 13, 2014 11:33 AM
The U.S. Gov is obsolete!

by: Edmond from: Elba
May 13, 2014 9:28 AM
hell, the white house doesn't recognize the majority of THIS country........why should anyone care what they think about another country

by: James Guns from: USA
May 13, 2014 8:44 AM
How can the May 25th elections be "free and fair" when the candidates were chosen by an unelected Parliament? Let's us not forget that the current Ukrainian government is in power via the overthrow of an elected President, the outser of opposition members from that Parliament and the installation of a neo-nazi party, Svoboda, as a major player in politics.

by: Sergey from: SPb
May 13, 2014 7:45 AM
US separated from GB as illegal as Donetsk and Lugansk now. You haven't right to condemn east-ukrainian people.

by: Farhad Wahaj from: Kabul
May 13, 2014 6:10 AM
Hello to all, in my view it is the best way that people decide their own right and go to for the freedom vote, in fact this the scheme which is acceptable for all, because this scheme is used in nearly all countries, we stand behind bullet to chose president for future some give their vote to one person and other give their vote to another person, but prosperity is come to only one, but this president is acceptable for all, so now for all the countries require to respect and adapted this result and respect to human rights. Thanks.

by: Jakob from: India
May 13, 2014 3:05 AM
Then there are places in Russia such as Chechnya, Dagestan, and Ingushetia, and maybe more. When is Putin going to organize a referendum to see if they want to remain under Russian rule? When he was sending tanks and bombers there, nobody in Russia seem to see it as unfair. Are there not two different measures used by Putin here -- one for Ukraine and one for Russia?
In Response

by: Adam WAR from: El-Fassher, Sudan
May 15, 2014 9:17 AM

All ethnic minorities around the earth can not find their dignity and freedom and live confortably unless the enjoy the kind of the governance that they create with their own free will. Let these oppressed communities around the globe choose the kind of life they feel comfortable to live in. Freedom to all the oppressed, including the people of Darfur !.

by: Markus Virba
May 13, 2014 2:08 AM
The fact that majority of Ukraine people are at the polls deciding its future is what counts and should be recognized by any nation. Power belongs to the people first than the policies.

by: gen from: Japan
May 12, 2014 11:21 PM
I thought Mr Putin said the results of the votes by the separatists is the will against the interim government in Kiev.but not admit the independence in the regions.
Mr Putin tell the separatists to bring the will to Kiev.and Talk and negotiate about how to rebuild the country.
If there is no corporation of the regions,Ukraine would be much more time to rebuild Ukraine.or never to rebuild.Ukraine will be stay in very,very poor and miserable country.
The regions will stay in poor even if they are independent.The regions should take the autonomy and expand much more business with Russia.Their will and power focus on not a war but to rebuild the country. Don't wast the will and the power for change.
It would be fast for the regions to prosoper.
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