President Obama accused Russia Monday of interfering in Ukraine’s parliamentary elections and called on Moscow to allow people in eastern Ukraine to vote in a “legitimate” election in December.
“It is clear that Russian authorities occupying Crimea and Russian-backed separatists in parts of eastern Ukraine prevented many Ukrainian citizens from exercising their democratic rights to participate in national elections and cast their votes,” Mr. Obama said of Sunday’s elections.
The president said the U.S. will not recognize any election in separatist-held areas “that does not comport with Ukrainian law and is not held with the express consent and under the authority of the Ukrainian government.”
Pro-Western parties are set to dominate Ukraine’s parliament after the election handed President Petro Poroshenko a mandate to end the separatist conflict and steer the country further out of Russia’s orbit into Europe’s mainstream.
International observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe gave a further lift to the pro-Western Kiev leadership, saying the election had “largely upheld democratic commitments” despite the conflict in the east.
Mr. Obama called on Russia “to ensure that its proxies in eastern Ukraine allow voters in the parts of Donetsk and Luhansk” to vote freely in local elections on Dec. 7. He said the election on Sunday overall “represents another important milestone in Ukraine’s democratic development.”
• This article is based in part on wire service reports.