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Russia Recognizes Separatist Elections In East Ukraine

Russia has recognized controversial elections that occurred in the separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk and called on the government in Kiev to stop military action in order to negotiate with those who won the elections. Vote results from the elections showed that separatist candidates had prevailed by wide margins meaning that the political leadership in those areas would continue to be seeking independence from Ukraine.

The recognition by Russia of the elections and quasi-political independence of Donbass entities in what is now arguably former East Ukraine was met with outrage by the US and EU. The US and EU argued that by recognizing the elections and claiming that leaders in Donetsk and Luhansk had authority to negotiate with Ukraine, Russia violated the Minsk Agreement. The Minsk Agreement had yielded a problematic ceasefire in East Ukraine and some limited legal autonomy for separatist regions.

Though Russia recognized the elections of separatists and their authority to negotiate as legitimate representatives it stopped just short of recognizing the independence of Donetsk and Luhansk.

Russia has called on Ukraine to halt its military offensive against pro-Moscow rebels in the east, saying the insurgent leaders have enough authority to hold talks with Kiev after elections in parts of the country under their control. The deputy foreign minister, Grigory Karasin, made the appeal after Moscow recognised separatist elections in two eastern Ukraine regions dismissed as illegal by Kiev and the west…

Vote results announced on Monday showed Alexander Zakharchenko, the rebel leader in Donetsk, claiming an easy victory. The head of the separatists in Luhansk region, Igor Plotnitsky, won by a similarly large margin. “The elected representatives of Donetsk and Luhansk regions obtained a mandate to hold negotiations with central Ukrainian authorities to solve problems … via a political dialogue,” Karasin said.

The recognition of separatist elections and leaders is quite possibly a prelude to fully recognizing the independence of the Donbass separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk. If such a recognition were made it would likely cause more sanctions to be exacted on Russia from the EU and US as well as instigate another military offensive from Kiev.

Of course with Russia turning east for economic opportunities and the recent defeats by the Ukrainian military it is not altogether certain that sanctions and Kiev’s armed forces provide much of a disincentive for Russia. The separatists, meanwhile, seem content to slowly but surely wiggle out of Kiev’s grasp.

CommunityThe Bullpen

Russia Recognizes Separatist Elections In East Ukraine

Russia has recognized controversial elections that occurred in the separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk and called on the government in Kiev to stop military action in order to negotiate with those who won the elections. Vote results from the elections showed that separatist candidates had prevailed by wide margins meaning that the political leadership in those areas would continue to be seeking independence from Ukraine.

The recognition by Russia of the elections and quasi-political independence of Donbass entities in what is now arguably former East Ukraine was met with outrage by the US and EU. The US and EU argued that by recognizing the elections and claiming that leaders in Donetsk and Luhansk had authority to negotiate with Ukraine, Russia violated the Minsk Agreement. The Minsk Agreement had yielded a problematic ceasefire in East Ukraine and some limited legal autonomy for separatist regions.

Though Russia recognized the elections of separatists and their authority to negotiate as legitimate representatives it stopped just short of recognizing the independence of Donetsk and Luhansk.

Russia has called on Ukraine to halt its military offensive against pro-Moscow rebels in the east, saying the insurgent leaders have enough authority to hold talks with Kiev after elections in parts of the country under their control. The deputy foreign minister, Grigory Karasin, made the appeal after Moscow recognised separatist elections in two eastern Ukraine regions dismissed as illegal by Kiev and the west…

Vote results announced on Monday showed Alexander Zakharchenko, the rebel leader in Donetsk, claiming an easy victory. The head of the separatists in Luhansk region, Igor Plotnitsky, won by a similarly large margin. “The elected representatives of Donetsk and Luhansk regions obtained a mandate to hold negotiations with central Ukrainian authorities to solve problems … via a political dialogue,” Karasin said.

The recognition of separatist elections and leaders is quite possibly a prelude to fully recognizing the independence of the Donbass separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk. If such a recognition were made it would likely cause more sanctions to be exacted on Russia from the EU and US as well as instigate another military offensive from Kiev.

Of course with Russia turning east for economic opportunities and the recent defeats by the Ukrainian military it is not altogether certain that sanctions and Kiev’s armed forces provide much of a disincentive for Russia. The separatists, meanwhile, seem content to slowly but surely wiggle out of Kiev’s grasp.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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