Ukraine

Rogue Election Yields New Pro-Russian Leader in Eastern Ukraine

Alexander Zakharchenko wins as head of "Donetsk People's Republic"

|

Pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine named a leader of their breakaway republic on Monday after a weekend election which was denounced by Kiev and the West and further deepened a standoff with Russia over the future of the former Soviet state. Organizers of the vote said that Alexander Zakharchenko, a 38-year-old former mining electrician, had easily won election as head of the "Donetsk People's Republic", an entity proclaimed by armed rebels in the days after they seized key buildings in cities of Ukraine's Russian-speaking east last April.

The rogue vote, which Kiev says Russia encouraged, could create a new "frozen conflict" in post-Soviet Europe and further threaten the territorial unity of Ukraine, which lost control of its Crimean peninsula in March when it was annexed by Russia.