SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association)- NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has warned Moscow against recognizing the elections by pro-Russia forces in eastern Ukraine planned for later this week.
“Statements by Russian officials that Russia would recognize these so-called ‘elections’ show that Russia continues its efforts to destabilize Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said in a Friday statement.
“NATO allies, as part of the broad international community, have made clear they will not recognize so-called separatist elections,” he said.
Stoltenberg noted that the Sunday vote in Donetsk and Lugansk regions would undermine efforts to find a peaceful solution to the crisis in east Ukraine which has claimed the lives of over 3,700 people since it broke out in April.
The NATO chief argued that the elections “run directly counter” to peace accords signed between Kiev and pro-Russia forces in Minks on September 5, which Russia also backed, adding, “I call on Russia to respect its Minsk commitments, which could help pave the way for a peaceful solution.”
Meanwhile, the pro-Russia forces have refused to recognize the results of Ukraine’s snap parliamentary elections held on earlier this week on Sunday.
Following the crisis in Ukraine, relations between NATO and Russia have receded to their lowest ebb since the Cold War.
NATO has blamed Russia of meddling in Ukraine’s internal affairs, including accusations that Moscow has sent troops to Ukraine.
However, none of these accusations were supported with any evidence.
The military alliance ended all practical cooperation with Russia over Ukraine on April 1.
Ukraine’s mainly Russian-speaking regions became the scene of deadly clashes between pro-Russia protesters and the Ukrainian army after the government in Kiev launched military operations in mid-April in a bid to crush protests.
Violence intensified in May after the two flashpoint regions of Donetsk and Lugansk held local referendums in which their residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence from Ukraine and joining the Russian Federation.