Ukrainian President Poroshenko slams Donetsk elections

Ukrainian President Poroshenko slams elections in eastern Ukrainian self-proclaimed republics and orders sanctions on individuals and companies supporting rebels in eastern Ukraine

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko addresses a cabinet meeting in Kiev

Updated Sep 18, 2015

Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko has slammed the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) for conducting “illegal” elections in eastern Ukraine.

Moscow-backed DPR leader Alexander Zakharchenko said on Wednesday that local elections would be held in eastern Ukraine on October 18.

“Preparations for the elections are continuing as planned, they will be held on October 18, 2015. These are not the first elections for us, so we already have experience,” said Zakharchenko, according to Sputnik News.

Poroshenko called the elections a “great danger” to the Minsk agreements and the peace process between Ukraine's government and the pro-Russian rebels.

The Minsk agreements were signed by the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, France, and Germany on Feb. 11, 2015 as part of efforts towards finding a diplomatic solution to the ongoing war in eastern Ukraine.

According to the agreement elections in the rebel-held part of the country can only be held under Ukrainian regulations.

Local elections in the neighboring self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) will be held on November 2.

The Ukrainian government was planning to hold local elections on October 25 but the Poroshenko’s government won’t conduct elections in rebel held regions because of security and monitoring concerns.

"The leaders of the so-called DNR [Donetsk People's Republic] and LNR [Luhansk People's Republic] have announced a decision, which they have taken in coordination with the Russian Federation, to hold fake illegal elections, which contradict the Minsk agreements," Poroshenko said according to Reuters.

Poroshenko also added, "This risky and irresponsible decision requires our firm and coordinated reaction to the threat created to the Minsk agreements, such as prolongation and widening of sanctions."

Kiev does not recognise the self-proclaimed republics in Ukraine which announced their independence from the country in May 2014.

Ukraine sanctions rebel-supporting individuals and companies

President Poroshenko ordered sanctions late on Wednesday against individuals and companies supporting the rebels in eastern Ukraine.

According to Reuters 400 individuals and 90 legal entities have been sanctioned by Kiev.

Russian airline Aeroflot, software company Kaspersky Lab and Gazprombank and Bank of Moscow are among the sanctioned companies.

Some journalists also face restrictions, including reporters for the German newspaper Die Zeit and several Spanish and Israeli correspondents.

Denis Pushilin, a political who is the the self-proclaimed Chairman of the People's Soviet (Speaker of parliament) of the DNR, has also been sanctioned.

DAN, the DNR’s news agency, has said the "sanctions essentially undermine the foundations of the Minsk agreements."

A ceasefire has held for the last two weeks in eastern Ukraine.

Up to 8,000 people have been killed since April 2014, the beginning of the conflict and a month before Russia annexed the southern Crimea peninsula.

Kiev and the West accuse the Russian Federation of arming the separatists and sending troops into eastern Ukraine.

Russia denies the allegations, saying that only Russian "volunteers" fight alongside the rebels.

The West has imposed sanctions against Russian officials and top allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin over Russia's involvement in the conflict in Ukraine.

TRTWorld and agencies