Moscow 'respects will of people' after vote in east Ukraine: Kremlin

Moscow 'respects will of people' after vote in east Ukraine: Kremlin

KIEV / MOSCOW - Agence France-Presse
Moscow respects will of people after vote in east Ukraine: Kremlin

A member of an election commission counts ballot papers as the others empty a ballot box at a polling station in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, on May 11. AFP Photo

The Kremlin said on May 12 it respected the vote on self-rule in two Ukrainian regions and called for the results to be implemented through dialogue between Kiev and separatist leaders.

"Moscow respects the expression of the people's will in Donetsk and Lugansk," the Kremlin said in a statement, calling for "the results to be implemented in a civilised manner, without any repeat of violence, through dialogue between representatives of Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk."

"Any mediation efforts, including within the framework of the OSCE (Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe), would be welcome with a view to establishing such dialogue," the statement said.

Pro-Russian rebels in two eastern regions of Lugansk and Donetsk held referendums on independence on May 11 which the West slammed as a farce amid fears they could bring the former Soviet republic closer to civil war.

The rebels in Donetsk declared the results a few hours after polls closed, saying that nearly 90 percent had voted in favour of independence with a 75 percent turnout.

The other province, Lugansk, was due to declare its voting later on Monday but the results were expected to be roughly the same.

The Kremlin stressed that the turnout was high "despite attempts to scupper the voting."

"We condemn the use of force including the use of heavy armament against peaceful civilians which led to human casualties," the statement added.

Kıev says voting a 'farce'
Ukraine's interim president, menwhile, slammed the referendum as a "propaganda farce without any legal basis" that sought to cover up serious crimes.

"The farce that terrorist separatists call a referendum is nothing more than propaganda to cover up murders, kidnappings, violence and other serious crimes," Oleksandr Turchynov told Ukraine's parliament.

The only "legal effect" of Sunday's referendum would be to bring those that called it to justice, the interim president said.

He however reiterated his desire to "continue dialogue with those in the east of Ukraine, who have no blood on their hands and who are ready to defend their goals in a legitimate way."