UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday condemned an election being organized by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, saying the vote would violate the country’s constitution.
The Nov. 2 vote would be being held in defiance of Ukrainian national elections last Sunday in which pro-Western parties, dedicated to holding the former Soviet republic together and negotiating a settlement to the conflict, triumphed.
“The Secretary-General deplores the planned holding by armed rebel groups in eastern Ukraine of their own ‘elections’ on Nov. 2, in breach of the constitution and national law,” Ban’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.
“These ‘elections’ will seriously undermine the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum, which need to be urgently implemented in full,” he added. “The Secretary-General urges all to uphold these agreements and work toward a peaceful resolution of the conflict.”
He said it was important to restore stability and safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.
Russia, however, has said it will recognize the election results, an announcement that the Kiev government said could destroy the chance of bringing an end to the conflict.
The dispute over the rebel vote has deepened the discord in the geo-political tussle between Russia and the West over the future of Ukraine, going back to the overthrow by protesters of the country’s Moscow-backed president in February.
Moscow supports the rebels, but it denies Ukrainian and Western accusations that its troops have taken part in fighting against government forces in a conflict that has killed more than 3,700 people.
Reporting by Louis Charbonneau; editing by Gunna Dickson