US condemns Ukrainian separatist vote as ‘sham’
WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States is condemning rebel-organized elections in eastern Ukraine as a sham and chiding Russia for supporting them.
White House spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan says the elections held Sunday violated Ukraine’s constitution and basic electoral standards.
Meehan says both Moscow and pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine had agreed to local elections to be held under Ukrainian supervision, as part of a truce reached in Minsk in September. She says Sunday’s elections violate that deal, too.
The White House says it’s concerned Russia is trying to legitimize Sunday’s vote and isn’t abiding the Minsk accord. The U.S. is calling on Russia to withdraw forces from the border with Ukraine or else face rising penalties.
Rebel leaders in Donetsk and Luhansk won easy victories in Sunday’s vote, and Moscow has offered warm support.