Officials confident in Ukraine's planned May 25th election

17/04/2014

Officials in Kiev are looking ahead to presidential elections on May 25th, despite the Kremlin-backed destabilisation and provocation in eastern Ukraine.

By Rati Mujiri for Southeast European Times -- 17/04/14

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Pro-Russian activists guard a barricade outside the regional police building they seized in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk on April 15th. Officials in Kiev said Ukraine will hold presidential elections on May 25th, despite Kremlin-backed efforts to destabilise the country's east. [AFP]

On-going attacks on state institutions and government buildings in Ukraine indicate Russia's attempt to take control of southeastern territory and prevent Kiev from holding elections in that part of the country, officials and analysts said.

The Kremlin wants to disrupt Ukraine's plans for a May 25th election and destabilise the situation in the country, Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine Danylo Lubkivsky told reporters in Kiev.

Vladimir Fesenko, head of the Penta Centre for International and Policy Studies in Kiev, said the Kremlin wants elections to fail and this is the "main reason of on-going provocations" in eastern Ukraine.

"This tense situation in Donetsk, Lugansk and other cities in the east of Ukraine is a part of the Kremlin's plan," Fesenko told SETimes. "At this moment, the main goal of [Russia's President Vladimir] Putin is to have an excuse to say elections are illegal. That's why the Kremlin speaks about the danger of civil war. If Russia sees that an anti-terrorist operation in Ukraine works they will use rest of their armed forces for provocations."

Ukraine's legitimate government decided to create a special group to monitor the pre-election process and avoid provocations.

"We will explore all actions which can cause failure of elections in Ukraine," Andriy Parubiy, secretary of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine, told reporters in Kiev. "We will stop all attempts. I'm sure that Ukraine now has enough power and all instruments to avoid failure of elections."

Russian lawmakers call upcoming elections a "farce" organised by Ukraine's "illegal government."

"I'm sure, after they [elections] will be held, there still will be political forces who won't recognise results," Russian lawmaker Sergey Mironov told TV channel RSN.

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"Elections in Ukraine must be secured," German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told SETimes.

EU officials said an election is the way to stabilise the situation in Ukraine and the bloc should help to ensure the process unfolds peacefully.

"For the country [elections] is necessary to go back to normal life and development," Gernot Erler, the German government's special co-ordinator for Russia policy, told SETimes. "During the conversations with government of Ukraine we underline that using force is unacceptable. They must don't answer on provocations. They must trust that after elections situation will become more stable. We also urge Russia to stop annexing Ukraine and backing provocations. If Russia won't listen to us, we'll be forced to activate the third grade of sanctions."

What are the most effective steps the government should take to secure the May 25th elections? Share your thoughts below.

This content was commissioned for SETimes.com.
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