The self-declared Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, backed by the Russian government, held elections on November 11 to appoint new heads of government and council members. As expected, Denis Pushilin was elected head of the Donetsk government, and Leonid Pasechnik was elected head in Luhansk.
The turnout was reported at 80% in Donetsk by the local authorities and 77% in Luhansk. In order to entice voters, markets were organised with discounted products, news reports said. Students were also reported to be required to attend a celebratory concert.
Western and Ukrainian authorities repeated their condemnations of the elections, which were held in violation of the Minsk Accords aimed at ending the armed conflict in Donbas.
During their November 11 trilateral talks in Paris on the sidelines of the celebrations of the centenary of the end of WWI, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel “firmly emphasised the position of condemning the elections in certain territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence,” Ukrainian President Poroshenko, who was also in Paris, told the press afterwards.
In particular, the elections didn’t occur with the participation of Ukrainian political parties and didn’t involve international observers. Ukrainian leaders called for new sanctions against those organising the elections. Poroshenko didn’t meet with Russian President Putin, who was also in Paris.
“Poroshenko not meeting with Putin confirms our view that the talks for a UN peacekeeping mission in Donbas are postponed indefinitely, to be renewed not earlier than 2020, after Ukraine’s new cabinet is formed,” Zenon Zawada of Concorde Capital said in a note.