Ukraine's president condemns plans for rebel elections

2014-10-21 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says Russia has agreed to resume natural gas deliveries to his nation for the winter following concerns that a permanent halt in supplies over a pricing dispute could impact the rest of Europe. However tensions remain with Russia over eastern Ukraine where pro-Russian separatists have announced early elections.

Listen to Stefan Bos' report: 

Poroshenko condemned the rebels for planning to hold elections in November.

Speaking on national television he said the ballot should be held on December 7 under international supervision. In his words “The fake, so called elections on November 2” or any other date “will not be recognised by all parties who participated in Friday's meeting” on Ukraine in Milan, including Russia. 

He said they “agreed that the vote cannot be held without respecting Ukrainian laws and a ceasefire, or without observers from for instance Europe's security organization OSCE and the European Council.”

NEW LAW

Poroshenko said a proper ballot could be organized under new legislation granting the Donetsk and Luhansk regions a ‘special status’ with three-year self-rule.

Yet the self-declared Prime Minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Alexander Zakharchenko has defended his election campaign. “Ukraine doesn’t want to change from a military battle to a political confrontation,” he complained. 

Zakharchenko claimed that conditions of a ceasefire agreement reached recently in the Belarusian capital Minsk “haven not been respected.” He said, “Attacks and fighting have not stopped even for one day.”

The standoff with what Kiev says are “Russian-armed” separatists has overshadowed a deal with Moscow over natural gas deliveries. 

NEW PRICE

President Poroshenko said his country had reached an agreement with Russia to supply Ukraine natural gas through March at a price of $385 per 1,000 cubic meters.  

Russia halted deliveries to Ukraine in June over unpaid bills. 

It risked leaving not only Ukraine without heat this winter but also that Russia could cut off flows to Europe, if Ukraine began siphoning off natural gas from pipelines, crossing its territory.

News of an agreement comes while Ukraine prepares for general elections on October 26.

(from Vatican Radio)