Russia Opposes ‘Inadequate’ UN Draft Statement on East Ukraine Vote

 

Russia opposed a UNSC statement to condemn Sunday's presidential and parliamentary elections in eastern Ukraine

Russia opposed a UNSC statement to condemn Sunday’s presidential and parliamentary elections in eastern Ukraine

Topic: Situation in the South-East of Ukraine

© AP Photo/ United Nations, Eskinder Debebe
November 4, 2014

UNITED NATIONS, November 4 (RIA Novosti) Russia has opposed a UN Security Council statement to condemn Sunday’s presidential and parliamentary elections in eastern Ukraine which it said was “inadequate”, a spokesperson for the Russian mission to the UN said late on Monday.

“There was a draft press-statement that was inadequate. For this reason it was not adopted,” said Alexei Zaitsev, the first press-secretary to the Russian ambassador to the UN. He did not elaborate.

The Ukrainian ambassador to the 15-member council said earlier that UN tried to draft a statement on what it regards as illegal elections. The vote has also been criticized by the European Union, France, Germany and some other nations.

The elections in eastern Ukraine ran off smoothly and showed a high voter turnout, according to the local election commissions. With 100 percent of ballot lists counted, acting Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko was confirmed as the official leader of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), while the candidacy of Igor Plotnitsky was backed in the adjacent Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR).

Russia said it would recognize the results of the vote since it lent legitimacy to the people negotiating a peace settlement in Ukraine.

International Observers in Donbas Polls Report No Violations During Refugee Vote

ROSTOV-ON-DON, November 2 (RIA Novosti)A group of international election observers have registered no reports of suspected vote rigging at the polling stations set up for Donetsk and Luhansk refugees in southwestern Russia, a Hungarian observer told reporters during Sunday’s vote.

“Everything is going, as it should. We have exposed no violations so far,” the observer said, adding, “You cannot prohibit people to vote. These elections must prove that voting can be peaceful.”

Another Hungarian observer said she did not expect Kiev to recognize the results of the presidential and parliamentary elections in its breakaway eastern “republics.”

“The situation we are in today is that the West has double standards: they have their own take on what a democracy is, and all other opinions don’t count,” she said. The observer stressed she believed that elections would help peace settlement in eastern Ukraine.

Refugees from the besieged eastern provinces are voting to elect the leaders and legislatures in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics.

Mobile polling stations were opened in three west Russian regions bordering on Ukraine.

Voting is underway at mobile polling stations. Two voting stations have been set up in the village of Krasny Desant in Russia’s Rostov region, and the voting is being monitored by foreign observers.

The election commission in Luhansk said it estimated the number of Luhansk refugees living in Russia at some 200,000.

In May, Luhansk and Donetsk regions declared themselves “people’s republics” and called to secede from Ukraine after the country went through a painful political crisis, which resulted in a coup in February. In mid-April, the new Ukrainian government launched a military campaign against the regions in a bid to crack down on the opposition.

Poroshenko considers canceling law on special local governance of Donbass

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko (RIA Novosti/Nikolay Lazarenko)

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko (RIA Novosti/Nikolay Lazarenko)

 

RT news

Ukraine may abolish its law on special local governance in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, President Petro Poroshenko announced on Monday. The measure will be discussed at a meeting with the National Security Council, called by the president for Tuesday.

In his address to the nation, the Ukrainian president said that Kiev stays true to the Minsk protocol, but has to make amendments to the special status law, which was approved by the parliament on September 16.

Ukraine is ready to adopt a new law on decentralization of power “if all sides get back to observance of the Minsk protocol,” Poroshenko said.

The protocol was approved in the Belarusian capital on September 5, with Kiev authorities and Donetsk and Lugansk militias agreeing on a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine. The contact group in Minsk agreed on other key issues, including the exchange of war prisoners and humanitarian aid access to the conflict zone.

The document on special local governance in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, signed by Poroshenko last month, outlined “temporary order of local government in certain districts,” and suggested local elections in the districts to be scheduled for December.

Prime Minister of Donetsk People’s Republic, Aleksandr Zakharchenko, casting his vote. RIA Novosti / Aleksey Kudenko

Prime Minister of Donetsk People’s Republic, Aleksandr Zakharchenko, casting his vote. RIA Novosti / Aleksey Kudenko

The self-proclaimed people’s republics carried out elections this weekend. According to the vote’s final results, incumbent PM Aleksandr Zakharchenko won Sunday’s elections in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic in eastern Ukraine, taking some 75 percent of the votes. In Lugansk, 63 percent voted for the current leader, Igor Plotnitsky.

In his address, Poroshenko said Ukraine did not recognize the elections in the regions, calling it a “farce at gunpoint” and a “terrible event that has nothing in common with the real expression of the people’s will.”

The vote “brutally violates” the Minsk agreements, Poroshenko stated, adding that the vote threatened to disrupt the peace process in the area.

Representatives of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions have said they abide by the Minsk protocol and are ready to continue their dialogue with Kiev, should its officials “act in a sensible way.”

Ukraine held its early parliamentary elections on October 26. Moscow recognized the results of both votes.

Earlier in October, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the law giving special status to troubled regions in eastern Ukraine was “not perfect,” but might be used to finally stabilize the situation in the area.

Perhaps it’s not a perfect document, but it’s a step in the right direction, and we hope it will be used in complete resolution of security problems,” Putin said after closed-door talks with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Milan.

Incumbent PM Zakharchenko leads in Donetsk elections – early results

RIA Novosti / Alexey Kudenko

RIA Novosti / Alexey Kudenko

RT news

Incumbent PM Aleksandr Zakharchenko is leading in Sunday’s elections in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic in eastern Ukraine, taking over 70 percent of the votes, early results showed after half the ballots had been counted.

Zakharchenko is ahead of his rivals with over 70 percent of votes, the head of the Central Election Commission of the DPR, Roman Lyagin, said on Sunday evening.

He was trailed by Aleksandr Kofman, deputy speaker of the Novorossiya Union parliament, and Yury Sivokonenko, an MP from the local Supreme Council.

Meanwhile, the lead in the parliamentary elections – also held on Sunday – is being claimed by Zakharchenko’s Donetsk Republic party, which has 65.11 percent, the head of the Election Commission added citing exit poll. The rival Svobodniy Donbass party is collecting 34.89 percent of the votes.

Members of the self-defense forces cast their votes during the elections for the leader and the People's Council of the Donetsk People's Republic (RIA Novosti / Alexey Kudenko)

Members of the self-defense forces cast their votes during the elections for the leader and the People’s Council of the Donetsk People’s Republic (RIA Novosti / Alexey Kudenko)

 

The self-proclaimed people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk 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 Lugansk.

In Lugansk, the overall turnout exceeded 60 percent, according to the head of the Central Election Commission in the LPR, Sergey Kozyakov. He added that by 8p.m. 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 Lugansk.

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.

Luhansk residents cast their votes at a polling station during the elections for the head and the People’s Council of the Luhansk People’s Republic (Reuters / Valery Melnikov)

Luhansk residents cast their votes at a polling station during the elections for the head and the People's Council of the Luhansk People's Republic (Reuters / Valery Melnikov)

Luhansk residents cast their votes at a polling station during the elections for the head and the People’s Council of the Luhansk People’s Republic (Reuters / Valery Melnikov)

 

However, Moscow earlier pointed out that according to the Minsk peace agreements, elections in both Ukraine and the self-proclaimed republics should be conducted between October 19 and November 3.

Thus Poroshenko’s order from October 16, which set the date of elections in the self-proclaimed republics for December 7, “contradicts the Minsk agreements,” said the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Ukraine conducted parliamentary elections on October 26.

No serious violations of public order were reported during the Sunday elections in the DPR. “We have no reports about incidents at polling stations,” a DPR Interior Ministry spokesman told TASS news agency. Minor incidents included a false bomb threat.

International observers said the elections in the self-proclaimed republics followed international standards, adding that they saw no violations during the process.

An MP from the Upper Chamber of Italy’s Parliament, Lucio Malan, acting as an observer at the elections in Donetsk, told RT that people “were not influenced in any way” during the vote.

The prevention of double or triple voting appeared to be good, up to international standards” he added.

What was possible for us to see and what we witnessed is that they fit completely into generally accepted democratic electoral standards,” Manuel Ochsenreiter, a German observer in Lugansk, told RT. “What was really impressing – the masses of people at the polling stations, standing sometimes for hours just to put their vote, to express their political will.”

“First I believe the elections followed international standards of democratic elections. I was very impressed with the enthusiasm and the vigor with which the people went to the polls to express their opinion,” US Senior Attorney Frank Abernathy, an observer in Lugansk, told RT.

73

Ukraine: Washington and NATO Promote Election Held at Gunpoint

 

US-Russia-Ukraine-flags-400x266With just days before presidential and municipal elections are to be staged in Ukraine by the Western-backed, right-wing “interim government,” the regime’s defense ministry announced Wednesday that its so-called “antiterrorist operations” against dissident populations in the east and south of the country are proceeding at full strength.

“The active phase of the antiterrorist operations is currently continuing,” ministry spokesman Vladislav Seleznyov said Wednesday. “Residents in the eastern regions of Ukraine can observe this. There is currently a planned rotation of troops and forces included in the antiterrorist operation.”

Washington and its Western European allies are promoting Sunday’s election as a means of legitimizing the Western-backed, neo-fascist-led coup which toppled Ukraine’s elected president and installed an illegal regime whose leaders were handpicked by US officials.

The idea that a legitimate election could be held, as the army employs tanks, artillery and helicopter gunships to suppress political opposition in large portions of the country, is ludicrous. This fraudulent exercise is being staged, with unconditional US support, just two weeks after the May 11 referenda on autonomy in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions that the State Department denounced as illegitimate. The Ukraine crisis has provided a unique window into the cynicism and hypocrisy of American imperialist foreign policy.

Washington has stepped up its own intervention, sending the US Navy guided missile cruiser Vella Gulf to the Black Sea in conjunction with the vote. Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden issued another threat against Russia, vowing during a visit to Romania that if Moscow “undermines” Sunday’s vote, the US will impose stiffer economic sanctions and step up the eastward drive of NATO.

Since the Ukrainian regime launched its “antiterrorist” operation, sending troops and National Guard units composed of Right Sector neo-fascist thugs against eastern and southern Ukraine, at least 127 people have been killed, according to a United Nations estimate.

One clear indication of the atmosphere in which the elections are being staged came last month when presidential candidate Oleg Tsarev, a former deputy in deposed President Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions and a supporter of federalization, was set upon by a right-wing mob following a television appearance in Kiev. Beaten to the point that he had to be hospitalized in critical condition, he has since withdrawn his candidacy and called for a boycott of the vote.

Similar and even worse brutality has been meted out by the fascistic elements that form a pillar of the regime against any political groupings deemed left-wing, including the “Borotba” (“Struggle”) group and the Communist Party of Ukraine (KPU), whose members have been killed, beaten, arrested and faced assassination attempts.

For the first time since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the election is being held under conditions in which no candidate representing the predominantly Russian-speaking regions of eastern and southern Ukraine is participating.

Meanwhile, the Kiev regime is ruthlessly cracking down on Russian media inside Ukraine, arresting, detaining, interrogating and deporting all those reporters whom it suspects of failing to toe the propaganda line being set by Washington. (See: Ukrainian regime detains journalists working for Russian media).

In tandem with this repression, the Kiev regime, with US and German backing, is going through the motions of “round table” discussions supposedly aimed at defusing tensions between the regime and the eastern and southern regions. These talks, involving politicians linked to one or another of the country’s ruling billionaire oligarchs, have systematically excluded any representatives of the populations that are protesting and are under attack.

Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, voted overwhelmingly Wednesday in favor of a “memorandum on peace and conciliation,” which purportedly was a product of the “round table” exercise. The resolution called for returning the Ukrainian troops now laying siege to the eastern and southern regions to their barracks and an end to violence by all sides. It also stipulated that Ukraine’s joining of any international union—such as the European Union or NATO—must be approved by a referendum.

A provision that would have provided amnesty for those who seized government buildings in eastern and southern Ukraine was removed from the final version of the memorandum.

The resolution was clearly intended to distract from the real conditions on the ground that were bluntly spelled out by the defense ministry and thereby lend the election a false shred of credibility. They were likewise aimed at placating the government of President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, which had previously questioned the legitimacy of the election.

There was an indication that as far as the Russian regime goes, the gesture had some effect. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said Wednesday that the memorandum constituted “the first public and distinct, though late, step toward the realization of the April 17, 2014 Geneva Agreements.”

These agreements, reached between the US, Russia, the European Union and representatives of the Kiev regime, called on all sides to “de-escalate tensions” by ending violence, disarming “illegal armed groups,” ending occupations of government buildings and extending an amnesty to protesters. The Kiev regime, backed by Washington, interpreted this accord in an entirely one-sided fashion, ignoring the illegal armed groups such as the fascistic Right Sector, which is one of its key supporters, as well as the occupations in Kiev and Western Ukraine, while rejecting any amnesty for protesters in the east.

The Putin regime’s lending of credibility to this memorandum—despite the clear contradiction between it and the actions of the Kiev regime on the ground—was joined with an announcement from Moscow that all Russian military forces were being withdrawn from areas near the Ukrainian border. Ukrainian officials confirmed on Wednesday that no Russian troops were positioned within 10 kilometers of the frontier.

The Russian government’s actions are bound up with the interests of the semi-criminal oligarchy that forms the key constituency of the Putin regime. On the one hand, the desire to defuse tensions over Ukraine are tied directly to concerns within this ruling layer that the conflict with the West—where most of them bank their wealth—and increasing sanctions threaten their interests.

This concern was reportedly expressed this week at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum, where 32 Russian billionaires are scheduled to attend, but US corporate and financial executives are staying away as a result of pressure from the Obama administration.

Moscow was also anxious to placate concerns on the part of Beijing over the annexation of Crimea and the potential redrawing of borders and their implications for their own problems with unrest in Xinjiang and Tibet.

Putin joined Chinese President Xi Jinping Wednesday in overseeing the signing of a massive 30-year gas deal reportedly worth $400 billion. While the deal had been under discussion for the past decade, the recent confrontation with the West over Ukraine apparently provide the impetus for reaching an agreement on pricing that had formally been illusive.

As the election in Ukraine draws closer, the Putin regime may also believe that it will place in power a corrupt oligarch with whom Moscow can do business.

The clear frontrunner in all of the polls in Ukraine is Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine’s so-called “chocolate king,” who amassed a $1.3 billion personal fortune by grabbing former state-owned factories in the aftermath of the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the restoration of capitalism. The latest poll placed his support at 53.2 percent, compared to barely 10 percent for his main competitor, former Prime Minister Yulia V. Tymoshenko, the so-called “gas princess,” who was jailed on corruption charges and released only after the US-backed coup in Kiev.

Poroshenko, Ukraine’s seventh-richest individual, has deep ties to the entire oligarchy. One of his closest associates is Dmytro Firtash, the Ukrainian gas tycoon, who is linked to Russian crime bosses and is currently in Austria awaiting extradition to the US on racketeering and bribery charges.

While touted as the one oligarch who backed the violent protests in the Maidan that culminated in February’s coup, Poroshenko was not only the foreign minister in the Western-aligned government of President Viktor Yushchenko, but also the minister of economic development and trade under the deposed Yanukovych.

 

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