Obama congratulates Ukrainians for 'successful' elections

US President Barack Obama congratulated the people of Ukraine on holding "successful" parliamentary elections, the White House said Monday.

IANS| Last Updated: Oct 28, 2014, 00:02 AM IST

Washington: US President Barack Obama congratulated the people of Ukraine on holding "successful" parliamentary elections, the White House said Monday.

"Despite a challenging security environment in certain regions, millions of Ukrainians turned out across the country to cast their ballots in an orderly and peaceful manner," Obama said in a statement.

On Sunday, Ukrainians cast their votes in the snap elections with 29 political parties and 1,401 candidates contesting in what experts called "the most controversial election in the history of independent Ukraine" to help their country emerge from an ongoing crisis.

The announcement about the early vote came Aug 26, when Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko dissolved the previous parliament.

The parliamentary vote "represents another important milestone in Ukraine's democratic development", Obama said, adding that the US looked forward to the convening of the new parliament and the "quick formation of a strong, inclusive government", according to Xinhua.

Obama also said that international monitoring organisations assessed the vote has been "largely in line with international standards".

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe said Monday that Sunday's parliamentary elections in Ukraine were well-organised and transparent.

In the statement, however, Obama accused "Russian authorities occupying Crimea and Russian-backed separatists" in parts of eastern Ukraine of preventing many Ukrainian citizens from exercising their democratic rights to participate in national elections and cast their votes.

He urged Russia to ensure its "proxies" in eastern Ukraine allow legitimate voters to cast their ballots in upcoming local elections Dec 7, in keeping with the agreement signed in Minsk, Belarus, Sep 5.

"The United States will not recognise any election held 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," Obama said.

Washington would also continue to support Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity as it worked toward a peaceful resolution of the conflict in the east and the return of Crimea, he added.