Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said Moscow plans to recognize elections being organized on November 2 in eastern Ukraine in defiance of the government in Kyiv, RFE/RL reports.
In an interview to the "Izvestia" daily published on October 28, Lavrov said: "We expect the elections will go ahead as agreed, and we will of course recognize the results."
Leaders of the pro-Russian insurgents in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions have said they will hold elections in their so-called "people's republics" to elect separate parliaments and their own leaders.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said any local elections held in Ukraine must be conducted in accordance with Ukrainian laws, indicating Kyiv will not consider the polls planned for Donetsk or Luhansk to be legitimate.
Kyiv has offered three-year "self-rule" to parts of Donetsk and Luhansk, with local elections to be conducted on December 7.
Pro-Russian separatists in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk declared independence from Ukrainian rule after Russia annexed Crimea in March.
Voters in separatist-controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk did not take part in Ukraine's parliamentary elections on October 26.