Russia defends legitimacy of separatists' elections in Ukraine

Moscow, Oct 30 (IANS/EFE): The Russian foreign ministry has defended the legitimacy of elections called by pro-Russian rebels next Sunday in regions under their control in eastern Ukraine.

The position of the militias to hold elections Nov 2 was legitimate, and fully corresponded to dealines set in the Minsk agreements, the ministry said in a statement made public Thursday.

It added that Ukraine's separatist eastern regions should rapidly create government bodies to begin to solve practical problems related to critical infrastructure situation and public order.

According to Moscow, the call for elections Nov 2 in the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk conforms to the agreements reached last September in the Belarusian capital of Minsk to settle the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

The foreign ministry criticised a recent law passed in Ukraine on the special status of the regions controlled by the pro-Russian militias, setting elections in those territories Dec 7.

It also accused Kiev of continuing its artillery attacks on areas controlled by the militias, in violation of the ceasefire agreed in Minsk.

Both sides, who have been engaged in fierce fighting since last May, have blamed each other for breaking the truce.

Moscow warned that current differences between the separatists and Kiev over the election date in eastern Ukraine has threatened the whole peace process.


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Title: Russia defends legitimacy of separatists' elections in Ukraine

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