Ukraine rebel leader Zakharchenko sworn-in after controversial elections

Kiev, Nov 4:

Alexander Zakharchenko, leader of independence-seeking insurgents in eastern Ukraine, was sworn in as the prime minister of Donetsk republic Tuesday after controversial elections that were rejected by Kiev.

During the ceremony held in the city of Donetsk, the main rebel stronghold, Zakharchenko vowed to “satisfy people’s expectations” as the “president” of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, xinhua reported.

“I am honoured to carry the flag of the Donetsk People’s Republic and together we will rebuild our homes, factories and mines,” Zakharchenko was quoted by the rebel-run “Novorossia” news agency as saying.

Zakharchenko was elected Sunday during “presidential and parliamentary elections”, which were held in the insurgent-controlled areas in Ukraine’s Donetsk and Lugansk regions amid harsh criticisms from Kiev and the West.

Following the vote, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said that the so-called elections would undermine the Minsk protocol and jeopardise the entire peace process in eastern Ukraine.

Poroshenko said that he will propose the country’s National Security and Defence Council to scrap a law on “special status” of areas in the east, including those controlled by the rebels.

The law on “special status”, which increases the authority of local communities by transferring more economic, financial and administrative powers to the regional governments, was approved by the Ukrainian parliament Sep 16.

Polls counter-productive: UN chief

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday described the elections in eastern Ukraine last Sunday as “an unfortunate and counter-productive development”.

“The quote and unquote elections in the eastern part of the country this past Sunday are an unfortunate and counter-productive development,” Xinhua quoted Ban as saying in his remarks to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna.

Ukraine and the West have been accusing Moscow of backing the rebels in Eastern Ukraine, an allegation Russia denies.

Western states imposed sanctions on Russia over the Ukrainian crisis, which Moscow strongly opposed and imposed some retaliatory sanctions on Western states as well.



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