EU says Ukraine rebel vote risks 'closing' window for peace

Militants of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic stand guard on November 4, 2014 before the inauguration of the newly elected leader, Alexander ZakharchenkoElections held by pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine threaten to close the “window of opportunity” for a peaceful solution to the bloody crisis, EU foreign affairs head Federica Mogherini said Tuesday. “The main risk I see now is that we close this window of opportunity for internal dialogue and for dialogue with Russia” on implementing a peace plan all sides agreed on in September, Mogherini told a press conference with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg. “They risk to put in serious danger the path of dialogue and peace” set down in the Minsk accords, she said, repeating that the polls held by separatists were illegal and would not be recognised. “The main topic today should be how to make sure that we find a solution to the conflict,” Mogherini said when asked if the polls justified further European Union sanctions against Russia for its role in a conflict which has so far cost some 4,000 lives.

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