Separatist leader Alexander Zacharchenko sweeps polls in rebel-held region of Ukraine to become the head of Donetsk People's Republic - a breakaway republic in eastern Ukraine. Pavithra George reports.
Another election in Ukraine, this time in the pro-Russia rebel-held region in the east. Separatist leader Alexander Zacharchenko swept the polls to become the head of Donetsk People's Republic - a breakaway republic in eastern Ukraine. Kiev called the vote in the Russian-speaking region a farce. It's the latest twist in the standoff with Moscow over the future of the former Soviet state. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) HEAD OF CENTRAL ELECTION COMMISSION OF SELF-PROCLAIMED DONETSK PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC, ROMAN LYAGIN, SAYING: "Kiev must come to terms with the fact that Donbass is no longer a part of Ukraine. It is self-evident. One can, perhaps, disagree with this, but one cannot argue with this. Whether Kiev recognises the expression of our will, that is their problem. We have decided it all for ourselves." In the rebel-held Donetsk region, residents hoped the election would bring an end to the conflict between the Ukrainian government and the pro-Russian separatists. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) DONETSK RESIDENT, NELYA, SAYING: "(We hope) for peace, for well-being and prosperity of the region. So that everything is fine for us and no one is killed and everyone is alive and well." Zacharenko's election though will mean little by way of change for the region, which is increasingly dependent on Russia for support financially and politically as it faces a humanitarian crisis which will only worsen in winter. Kiev and it's Western allies will now be looking to see if Russian President Vladimir Putin will recognize the validity of the vote, despite their requests not to do so.