(BRUSSELS) - The European Union said elections held Sunday by pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine were illegal, would not be recognised and created a new hurdle to a resolution of the conflict.

"I consider today's (polls) ... a new obstacle on the path towards peace in Ukraine," new EU foreign affairs head Federica Mogherini said in a statement.

Mogherini said the polls were held "contrary to the letter and spirit" of the ceasefire and peace accords Kiev signed with the rebels in September, which were backed by the international community and Russia.

As Mogherini's statement came through, Russia said it would recognise the vote in the rebel areas, a move likely to harden divisions on the ground and deepen a crisis which has taken some 4,000 lives since fighting broke out in April.

The Minsk protocols laid down that elections in the rebel controlled areas would take place in accordance with Ukrainian law in early December.

But the rebels rejected this, organising their own vote after Ukraine held national elections on October 26 which they prevented from taking place in their fiefdoms.

Mogherini said the vote provided for in the Minsk accords was "the legal and legitimate means" to elect local authorities in those parts of Ukraine.

"I call on all sides to work towards such elections," she added.

Without mentioning Russia by name, Mogherini said peace required "political will and good faith. I hope all parties will reaffirm their committment" to the Minsk accords and implement them fully.


The EU would continue for its part to do all it could to bring abou0t a peaceful solution, she said.


Ukrayinska Dumka


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