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Kyiv & West condemn "Illegal" votes in Eastern Ukraine

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By Robert Hackwill
Kyiv & West condemn "Illegal" votes in Eastern Ukraine

Voting in elections unrecognised by Kyiv, the US or the EU has finished in the two self-proclaimed peoples' republics in Eastern Ukraine.

Both the Donetsk and Luhansk administrations are currently led by acting heads, following the murder and firing of their predecessors.

Head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic Denis Pushilin is expected to be confirmed in the job. Everyone voting gets a free lottery ticket with prizes to encourage voter turnout.

In the Luhansk People's Republic Leonid Pasechnik is looking to cement his hold on the top job.

"This election doesn't contradict the Minsk agreements. We are a free republic, a free country. According to our law, the constitution of People's Republic of Luhansk, an election should be carried out," he said.

Except Russia is virtually alone in recognising the two entities, which split from Kyiv in 2014 and have been fighting Ukraine ever since, with Russia's help.

The Ukrainian foreign ministry issued a statement condemning the vote, which went ahead despite warnings from the US and EU that it was illegal.

Ukraine's president was brief and to the point:

"These elections will not be recognized by anyone. They do not meet the standards of Ukrainian legislation. They are carried out at the gunpoint of Russian machine guns in the occupied territory. They are categorically inappropriate. Security conditions were not created," fumed Petro Poroshenko.

There has been no timetable issued for the declaration of results, but it is highly likely the only candidates elected will be those favouring a pro-Moscow line.