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Elections in Donetsk, Lugansk offer Kiev opportunity for dialogue with east - Pankin

November 13, 2014, 6:35 UTC+3 UNITED NATIONS
Alexander Pankin, Russia’s first deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, said on Wednesday
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UNITED NATIONS, November 13. /TASS/. Recent elections in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics offer a unique opportunity to establish a sustainable dialogue between authorities in Kiev and representatives of Ukraine’s eastern regions, Alexander Pankin, Russia’s first deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, said on Wednesday.

Pankin stressed that Russia “respects the will of the people” of southeast Ukraine in the polls, noting that the vote was “in general well organised and with a high turnout”.

“It is very important the elected representatives receive a mandate to resolve the practical issues of re-establishing normal life in the regions,” the diplomat said, adding that the elections presented no threat to the Minsk agreement, reached in September, or the entire peace process in the country.

“More than that, they offer a unique opportunity to establish a sustainable dialogue between the central Ukrainian authorities and the representatives of the Donbass in order to find comprehensive political solutions to settle the accumulated differences,” Pankin said.

The November 2 elections of the Prime Minister and deputies of the People’s Assembly in self-proclaimed Donetsk brought victory to the incumbent Prime Minister, Alexander Zakharchenko, and the Donetsk Republic popular movement he stands at the head of.

In another self-proclaimed semi-state entity, the Lugansk People’s Republic, elections were won by the current Prime Minister, Igor Plotnitsky, and his Mir Luganshchine /Peace for Luganshchina/ public movement.

The first elections of Prime Ministers and legislators in the DPR and LPR were watched by representatives of the U.S., Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Slovakia and some other countries. They said upon the end of voting they had not seen any major violations and the elections stood fully in line with European electoral practices.

The government in Kiev speaks about illegitimacy of elections in the two unrecognized republics, with the U.S. and the EU supporting the claim. EU’s High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Federica Mogherini said the EU had no plans to recognize the outcome of the elections in East Ukraine.

The U.S., which said the elections contradicted the letter and spirit of the Ukrainian Constitution and the September 5 Minsk accords, condemned the fact they had been organized.

In contrast to the West, Russia believes that Sunday’s voting in the two self-proclaimed republics marked an encouraging step towards reconciliation in Ukraine. On the eve of the voting, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in an official statement the elections complied with the Minsk accords and offered a chance to put the situation in Ukraine’s southeast to the track of a fruitful dialogue.

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