Leaders in the Baltic states have strongly condemned Mondays elections in eastern Ukraine as illegal and illegitimate.
Elections have been held in Donetsk and Luhansk amid crisis in the east of the country showing sizeable wins for pro Russia rebel leaders Alexander Zakarenchko and Igor Plotnitsky .
"Russia needs to fulfill the commitments made by signing the Minsk protocol, and stop destabilizing the situation in Eastern Ukraine," said said Estonia's outgoing Foreign Minister Urmas Paet.
Latvia and Lithuania's foreign ministries strongly condemned the elections also.
"These acts, directly supported by the Russian Federation, is a gross violation of Ukraine's territorial integrity, contradicts international law, the laws of Ukraine and the 5 September Minsk agreement. These acts do not allow the citizens of Donetsk and Luhansk regions to express their political will freely. The "autonomy" based on such farce "elections" will have no democratic legitimacy," Lithuania's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
The rebel organizers dismissed Kiev's criticism, reports Radio Free Europe as cited by the Christian Science Monitor.
"Kyiv should put up with the fact that the Donbas is no longer part of Ukraine," said Roman Lyagin, a separatist election official in Donetsk, using the term to describe an industrial section of eastern Ukraine that partially coincides with the territory held by pro-Russian rebels.
"Whether they acknowledge the expression of our will or refuse to recognize it, that is Kyiv's business. We have decided it all for ourselves," he said at a news conference after declaring Zakharchenko the victor.