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Germany Criticizes Kremlin Over Separatist Election Plans

The German government has criticized Russia for not distancing itself from plans by Russian-backed separatists to hold local elections in eastern Ukraine without consulting Kyiv.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said on September 21 that it "is regrettable that Russia so far has not distanced itself from these plans."

The German Foreign Ministry said the same day that "we expect Moscow to use its influence so that the separatists cancel these elections."

The statements came after Igor Plotnitsky, a self-styled leader of the areas under separatist control in Ukraine's Luhansk region, said local elections in those areas would be held on November 1.

The ministry said it views plans to hold the elections "with great concern" and added that they would be a serious violation of the Minsk peace agreement signed in February.

Ukrainian leaders and other Western countries have also criticized the plans by rebel representatives in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions to hold elections.

Based on reporting by Reuters