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Moscow considers Donetsk republic leader’s decree on local elections forced measure

September 17, 2015, 20:37 UTC+3

The Russian Foreign Ministry says the move was forced by Kiev’s violation of the Minsk Agreements

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© Artyom Geodakyan/TASS

MOSCOW, September 17. /TASS/. Moscow believes the decree of the head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), Alexander Zakharchenko, on local elections a forced measure caused by Kiev’s violation of the Minsk Agreements, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mariya Zakharova said Thursday.

"We proceed from the assumption that we understand this step by the Donetsk authorities, consider it as a forced one, caused by violation by official Kiev of provisions of the Minsk Agreements, simulation of their implementation, first of all regarding unilateral steps and not on the basis of direct dialogue between Kiev and Donbas," Zakharova said.

"We believe it is important to keep acting in accordance with the spirit and letter of the Minsk Agreements, which have no alternative as a basis for restoration of peace and stability in southeast Ukraine," she stressed.

"The cornerstone of the implementation of the Minsk Agreements remains the problem of Kiev not conducting direct dialogue with representatives of Donbass," Zakharova said.

DPR head Alexander Zakharchenko on September 16 signed a decree to set elections to local self-government bodies for October 18.

Ukrainian troops have been engaged in fierce fighting with local militias during Kiev’s punitive operation, underway since mid-April 2014, against the breakaway territories - the Donetsk and Lugansk people's republics constituting parts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine.

Massive shelling of residential neighborhoods, including with the use of aviation, has killed thousands and led to a humanitarian disaster in Donbass.

Kiev has regularly violated the ceasefire regime imposed as part of the Package of Measures on implementation of the September 2014 Minsk Agreements.

The Package (Minsk-2) was signed on February 12, 2015 in the Belarusian capital Minsk by participants of the Contact Group on settlement in Donbass.

The Package, earlier agreed with the leaders of the Normandy Four envisioned an overwhelming cessation of fire and withdrawal of heavy armaments to create a security area in the region at least 50 kilometers wide.

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