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ukraine rebel elections

President Petro Poroshenko has ordered more troops to key southern and eastern Ukraine cities in case of a new rebel offensive.

Petro Poroshenko said the units were to protect Mariupol, Berdyansk, Kharkiv and the north of Luhansk region.

He spoke after meeting security chiefs in the wake of disputed polls in rebel-held areas of Donetsk and Luhansk.


Petro Poroshenko said he was still committed to the current peace process but has proposed cancelling a key plank of the plan.

The peace process was laid out in a September 5 ceasefire deal agreed in Minsk, Belarus.

President Petro Poroshenko has ordered more troops to key southern and eastern Ukraine cities in case of a new rebel offensive

President Petro Poroshenko has ordered more troops to key southern and eastern Ukraine cities in case of a new rebel offensive

Angered by the elections, Petro Poroshenko has proposed scrapping a law that gives special status to Donetsk and Luhansk.

Both regions staged swearing-in ceremonies for their pro-Russian leaders on Tuesday, following the elections there on November 2.

Alexander Zakharchenko was inaugurated president of the Donetsk People’s Republic while Igor Plotnitsky was sworn in as president of the Luhansk People’s Republic.

The polls were held against the background of a conflict that has killed more than 4,000 people in eastern Ukraine since April.

Ukraine accuses Russia of arming the rebels and sending Russian regular troops across the border – a claim denied by Moscow.

Both the government and rebel sides have repeatedly violated the ceasefire.

Ukraine and its Western allies have condemned the elections in the east.

At the meeting of his security chiefs, Petro Poroshenko said the Ukrainian reinforcements would be for the “construction of fortifications” against a “possible offensive in the direction of Mariupol, Berdyansk, Kharkiv and Luhansk north”.

He said Ukraine remained “a supporter of the peace plan” and would adhere to its terms, which were agreed in Minsk by delegations from Ukraine, Russia, rebels and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

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Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko will chair a crisis meeting of security chiefs, after a rebel-held vote that he said jeopardized “the entire peace process”.

Petro Poroshenko proposed scrapping a law, agreed under the September 5 truce deal, which gives special status to the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk areas.

Two pro-Russian leaders were declared the winners of Sunday’s polls.

Under the terms of the truce, Ukraine was meant to hold elections in the two regions in December.

The West says the rebel-held elections are illegal but Russia is backing them.

More than 4,000 people have been killed in fighting in eastern Ukraine since April.

Ukraine accuses Russia of arming the rebels and sending Russian regular troops across the border – a claim denied by Moscow.

Addressing the nation on TV late Monday, President Petro Poroshenko said he would hold a meeting of Ukraine’s Security and Defense Council on Tuesday to propose abolishing the law granting special self-government to rebel-held areas.

Petro Poroshenko described the November 2 “pseudo-elections” in Donetsk and Luhansk as a “farce at gunpoint” which would never be recognized as legitimate.

Sunday’s polls, he said, were “a gross violation” of the Minsk agreement – a roadmap to a peaceful settlement agreed by Ukraine, Russia, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and also rebel delegations.

“We demonstrated to residents of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, as well as to the whole world, that we are sincere in our desire for political settlement,” he said.

“The militants refused this opportunity.”

Ukraine and the West have always insisted the rebel territories must abide by the Minsk deal and hold the local elections under Ukrainian law in December.

The US said it condemned the “illegitimate, so-called <<elections>> held on Sunday” and was “concerned by a Russian foreign ministry statement that seeks to legitimize [them]”.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the polls were “a new obstacle on the path towards peace”, while Germany said Russia’s backing of the vote was “incomprehensible”.

President Petro Poroshenko will chair a crisis meeting of security chiefs after rebel-held vote jeopardized the entire peace process

President Petro Poroshenko will chair a crisis meeting of security chiefs after rebel-held vote jeopardized the entire peace process

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, warned Russia could face further sanctions as a result of its position.

Russia earlier said it respected “the will of the people of the south-east”. It called for a “sustainable dialogue” between the authorities in Kiev and the rebels.

Results released on November 3 showed Alexander Zakharchenko, the self-declared prime minister in Donetsk, had won the poll to become the head of the region. His party also came first in the parliamentary election.

In Luhansk, the incumbent rebel prime minister, Igor Plotnitsky, was declared the winner.

They are both expected to be officially sworn in later on Tuesday.

Both sides have repeatedly violated the ceasefire agreed in September.

The separatist insurrection erupted in the east after Russia annexed Ukraine’s southern Crimea peninsula, weeks after Ukraine’s pro-Russian President, Viktor Yanukovych, was forced out of office by mass protests in Kiev.

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