KIEV (Sputnik) — Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Saturday vowed to respect voters' choice in elections that are to take place in the breakaway Donetsk and Luhansk regions, adding the vote must be conducted under Ukrainian laws.
"These elections must be recognized internationally… If people in Donetsk and Luhansk back them, it will be a totally different procedure, a democratic procedure, and we will respect any choice made by people in Ukraine's Luhansk and Donetsk," Poroshenko pledged in a televised interview.
He did not ruled out that local elections in Ukraine's turbulent southeastern provinces may take place in 2015, but conditioned the vote on the pullout of "foreign troops" that are allegedly fighting in Ukraine.
The Ukrainian leader stressed that Kiev would only grant this status to the regions when their current militia authorities let people in Donbas "vote freely, have free democratic elections that allow for unrestrained activities of Ukrainian parties, reintroduce Ukrainian laws, support the activity of election commissions, and restore Ukrainian media broadcasts."
The self-proclaimed republics were initially to vote in general parliamentary elections on December 7, 2014. But the regions refused to back the new Ukrainian government that came to power as a result of a February coup, and held their own elections on November 2. The results were not recognized by Kiev or its Western allies.