MOSCOW, November 3. /TASS/. The elections in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) in the east of Ukraine have passed in an orderly manner in general and they had a high voter turnout, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Monday.
“The elections in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions have been held in an orderly fashion in general and had a high voter turnout,” the ministry said.
“We respect the will expression of the residents of (Ukraine’s) south-east. The elected representatives have got the mandate for the practical efforts aimed at the restoration of normal life in the regions,” the statement says.
The ministry added that “taking into account the held elections it is very important to take active steps to develop a stable dialogue between the Ukrainian central authorities and representatives of Donbas in line with the Minsk agreements.”
“We are ready to constructively promote the Ukrainian crisis settlement together with our international partners,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
On Sunday, the DPR and LPR held elections of the self-proclaimed republic’s heads and parliament members. In DPR its incumbent head Aleksandr Zakharchenko won the polls, and in the LPR - incumbent leader of the republic Igor Plotnitsky.
The self-proclaimed people’s republics of Donetsk and Luhansk took to polling stations to vote for their leaders and MPs on Sunday. Over 360 polling stations were open in Donetsk for three million potential voters. Meanwhile, 102 polling stations for approximately 1.5 million voters were open in Luhansk.
In Luhansk, the overall turnout exceeded 60%, according to the head of the Central Election Commission in the LPR, Sergey Koziyakov. He added that by 8pm local time, nearly 630,000 residents had come to cast their votes.
Kiev has said it will not recognize the elections, as they contradict Ukrainian legislation. Ukraine’s Security Service has opened a criminal case against the organizers of the elections in Donetsk and Luhansk.
EU’s new foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has also spoken out against the elections, arguing that it will be an obstacle to reconciliation in Ukraine.
“I consider today’s "presidential and parliamentary elections" in Donetsk and Luhansk ‘People’s Republics’ a new obstacle on the path towards peace in Ukraine. The vote is illegal and illegitimate, and the European Union will not recognize it,” Mogherini said in a statement.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko condemned the elections as illegitimate on Sunday and called on Russia not to recognize the results. “I count on Russia not to recognize the so-called elections because they are a clear violation of the September 5 Minsk protocol, which was also signed by Russia’s representative,” he said in a statement.
However, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement late on Sunday saying that Moscow “respects the expression of will of the south-eastern (Ukrainians).” The ministry noted a high turnout and reminded that in the current situation it is “extremely important” for Kiev to work on conducting dialogue with the people of the region.