Excerpt on Ukraine in the White House Press Brief

State Department Official: I do have a statement on this, which is that the United States congratulates the people of Ukraine for exercising their right to vote in yesterday’s local elections. According to the initial reports from observers that I think you mentioned, these elections largely reflected the will of the Ukrainian people, and generally respected the democratic process.

There were 132 political parties and many government and civil society groups who participated in pre-election preparations and Election Day observations that contributed to a largely successful Election Day. The local elections are an important step as Ukraine moves forward with difficult reforms to decentralize political power. And we look forward to a second successful round on November 15th for mayoral races in which a single candidate did not achieve a majority yesterday.

We do hope that citizens living in the conflict zone, internally displaced persons and refugees will soon have the opportunity to exercise their right to choose their leaders. And we call upon Russia and the separatists to negotiate in good faith in the Trilateral Contact Group’s political working group so elections can take place in separatist-controlled areas as soon as possible.