UNITED NATIONS— U.N. Security Council members have overwhelmingly praised Sunday’s election in Ukraine, and urged an end to violence and the restoration of calm and national dialogue.
Nearly all 15 Council members welcomed President-elect Petro Poroshenko’s election victory and his pledge to reach out to all regions as well as Moscow to restore calm. But Russia’s ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, was more reserved, saying the election was not a “panacea.”
U.N. political chief Jeffrey Feltman told the Council that about 60 percent of eligible voters participated in the election. He said international monitors concluded the vote was credible, despite hostilities in the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions of the country. Elections were not held at all in the Russian-occupied Crimean peninsula.
Feltman said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke by telephone with the president-elect Wednesday, congratulating him on receiving a strong mandate from the people.
“The secretary-general welcomed President-elect Poroshenko’s statements to engage immediately in dialogue and de-escalation," said Feltman.
But Feltman said the U.N. chief also is concerned about reports of heavy weaponry being used in the east, and allegations of arms, fighters and trucks entering Ukraine.
He also expressed concern about four international monitors who have been missing since Monday night in the volatile Donetsk region. Another group of 11 observers was briefly detained Wednesday in the same area, but has since been released.
Ukraine’s envoy, Yuriy Sergeyev, told the Council that support for Poroshenko from all regions of the country confirms the strong desire of Ukrainians for national unity, and he urged Russia to cease its interference and stoking of separatism in Ukraine.
“We call on the Security Council and the international community to categorically demand from the Russian Federation to cease the practice of provoking instability, to withdraw all formations of Russian armed forces, paramilitary organizations, groups and their citizens from Ukraine and to fulfill their obligations it undertook in accordance with the Geneva Ukraine agreement," said Sergeyev.
Ambassador Sergeyev said he is skeptical of Moscow’s statements that it will respect the outcome of Ukraine’s election, in light of continued Russian interference.