Monday, 03 November 2014 - 18:05
Russia backs Ukraine rebel vote despite West criticism
Russia endorsed a crushing victory for Ukraine's pro-Moscow rebel leadership after controversial polls yesterday, that the EU slammed as a "new obstacle" for peace in the country's strife-torn east.
The swift acceptance of the results by Russia looked certain to spark a diplomatic firestorm, with a fresh round of Western sanctions against the Kremlin now increasingly on the cards.
Just prior to Moscow's announcement, the European Union's top diplomat Federica Mogherini had already decried the separatist vote as a "new obstacle on the path to peace".
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko blasted the ballot as a "farce that is being conducted under the threat of tanks and guns".