posted at 02:50
Author Name: Nicolas Miletitch
Ukraine separatists vote in controversial election
The elections in the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic and Lugansk People's Republic - based around the two main rebel-held cities - were billed as bringing a degree of legitimacy to the makeshift military regimes that already control them. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko blasted the election as a violation of a September 5 truce deal, calling them "Pseudo-elections that terrorists and bandits want to organise on occupied territory". The Security Service of Ukraine said Sunday it was opening a criminal investigation into "The holding of so-called 'elections'", which it said contradicted the constitution and resembled "a power grab." "The election in the Lugansk People's Republic began with the shelling by insurgents of Girskye town," said Gennady Moskal, head of the regional administration, which remains loyal to Kiev. The elections are the latest bone of contention in the conflict that began with pro-Western demonstrators in Kiev ousting Ukraine's Moscow-backed government in February, then spiralled rapidly, with Russia annexing the southern region of Crimea, and separatists seizing towns in the east. Russia, which supports the rebels but denies sending troops to fight on their side, says it will recognise the results of the elections. No international election monitors were present for the vote, and no minimum turnout has been set by the organisers, reflecting uncertainty over how many voters could turn out. "These elections are important because they will give legitimacy to our power and give us more distance from Kiev," said Roman Lyagin, election commission chief of the Donetsk People's Republic.

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