Controversial elections begin in Ukrainian separatist regions of Donetsk and Lugansk

Controversial elections begin in Ukrainian separatist regions of Donetsk and Lugansk

Today, controversial elections take place within the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics in eastern Ukraine. They threaten to further

Ukraine.JPEG-01839

Photo: Associated Press

Today, controversial elections take place within the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics in eastern Ukraine. They threaten to further undermine conflict resolution in the war-torn region.

The breakaway region receives economic and humanitarian aid from Russia as it seeks nationhood. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian government describes the region as ‘occupied’ by Russia.

The Moscow-backed separatists pledge the elections are to choose the region’s parliament and a new leader to prevent a power vacuum following the recent assassination of Donetsk People’s Republics leader Aleksandr Zakharchenko.

Ukraine condemns the elections as contravening Ukrainian laws, the September 2014 Minsk Agreement and the February 2015 Minsk II Agreement signed by all sides to resolve hostilities. The West supports Ukraine’s stance that the elections are illegal. In response to the vote, Ukraine may withdraw from the Minsk agreements.

Expect tensions between Ukraine and Russia to escalate as Russia gains a stronger foothold in eastern Ukraine.

Wake up smarter with an assessment of the stories that will make headlines in the next 24 hours. Download The Daily Brief.