Former Estonian MP Silver Meikar, who is in Ukraine, said elections held in separatist-controlled areas in Ukraine can not be called elections as the preconditions were not filled.
“Elections are not only about what happens on the day of the vote. Elections can be free and fair if the preconditions are there: the possibility to run for office, hold political debates and that people are not afraid. And that is the reason those elections were not legitimate, free or fair,” Meikar told ERR radio on Monday.
Two pro-Russian leaders were declared the winners of the vote and are expected to be sworn in today.
Meiker said residents of both Luhansk and Donetsk regions could take part in the elections, but in reality only a third of the territory is controlled by the separatists.
“The aim of the elections was to give legitimize to those in power, and in that sense it was successful,” Meikar said, adding that now those in power will say that they have the mandate to continue moving in the same direction as they already did before the elections.
He said comparisons with Crimea are not that apparent and Russia does not want the regions joining it.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Monday that the elections give legitimacy for separatist leaders to hold talks with the government in Kyiv.
The current separatist leaders in both areas won the elections, held on the weekend, by a landslide. The Ukrainian government said it will launch a criminal case into the illegal elections, while Federica Mogherini, the EU foreign policy chief, condemned the elections, calling them an obstacle for peace.