New separatist leader appointed in eastern Ukraine

2017-11-25 18:46
Relatives of Ukrainian servicemen jailed by pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country hold their portraits in Kiev. (Sergei Supinsky, AFP)

Relatives of Ukrainian servicemen jailed by pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country hold their portraits in Kiev. (Sergei Supinsky, AFP)

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Moscow - Separatist lawmakers in eastern Ukraine on Saturday appointed an interim chief to replace their beleaguered leader in an apparent palace coup.

The resignation of the leader of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic Igor Plotnitsky was announced by Leonid Pasechnik, his long-time foe and minister of state security.

The separatist mouthpiece Luhansk Information Centre reported on Saturday that the local legislature voted unanimously to accept Plotnitsky's resignation and make Pasechnik interim chief.

Government troops

Pasechnik announced on Friday that Plotnitsky had resigned on health grounds and that he would be the acting chief until an election is called.

Plotnitsky's resignation ends a nearly week-long showdown between the separatist leader and the ousted interior minister, who had summoned troops in defiance of his sacking.

More than 10 000 people have been killed and a million displaced since 2014 in long-simmering conflict between government troops and Russia-backed separatists in the regional capital, Luhansk, and in parts of the neighbouring Donetsk region.

Luhansk has been plagued with infighting between various armed groups and warlords. Political and military leaders have been unseated and died in suspicious circumstances.

Read more on:    russia  |  ukraine

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