WASHINGTON, November 3. /TASS/. The United States has condemned Russia's decision to recognize elections held in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics as a violation of the September 5 Minsk protocol.
“We are concerned by a Russian Foreign Ministry statement today that seeks to legitimize these sham ‘elections’,” Bernadette Meehan, a spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council, said in a statement, noting that the U.S. considered the elections held on Sunday in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions illegitimate. She said the elections violated the terms of the Minsk peace agreement, reached in September.
“We also continue to be concerned by reports that Russia is once more moving its troops and military equipment to portions of the international border,” Meehan said. “The Russia-Ukraine border remains unmonitored and outside of Ukrainian government control despite Russia’s commitment to facilitate the establishment of an effective international monitoring mission,” she said, expressing concerns over OSCE reports “that OSCE Special Monitoring Mission UAVs operating east of the control line have come under attack in recent days”.
“Moscow’s continued failure to fulfill its obligations under the Minsk agreements calls into question its commitment to supporting a peaceful resolution to the conflict in parts of eastern Ukraine,” Meehan said, warning that economic penalties on Russia “will rise” if Moscow continues to ignore its obligations under the Minsk ceasefire.
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 Luhansk 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 southeastern Ukraine to the track of a fruitful dialogue.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia was ready to recognize the results of elections that “have importance in what concerns power legitimization”.