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MOSCOW, December 25. /TASS/. Elections of the leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) andLuhansk People’s Republic (LPR) on November 2 were held in line with the Minsk agreements, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with the Kommersant daily.
Kiev needs to start talking to representatives of elected self-rule bodies to start restoring the common economic and political space, Lavrov said.
It is written in the Minsk protocol, he recalled, “that elections in the DPR and LPR, which will ensure the holding of free elections of people’s self-government bodies, will make it possible to go over to work to restore the economic, humanitarian and political space of entire Ukraine.”
“We supported the Minsk protocol and a supplement to it, where it was said that they [the DPR and LPR] hold those elections until November 3 [from October 15 to November 3], and it will be synchronized with Ukraine’s law on self-rule of those territories,” Lavrov said.
“Such a law was adopted, but somehow the date December 7 appeared in it. This is a separate story,” he said.
“Our key message was that we would surely recognize elections that will make it possible to form people’s self-rule bodies and go over to dialogue with Kiev to restore the common economic, humanitarian and political spaces,” the minister said.
“After those elections, [DPR head] Alexander Zakharchenko and [LPR head] Igor Plotnitsky confirmed their negotiating position. We actively support it. But in order for it to materialize, for artificial obstacles to stop being created on the path of restoring of those spaces [including economic and political], they need to be talked with,” he said.
Lavrov said Russia is working on that task and will press for its solution at the Minsk meeting.
“Our representative has relevant instructions,” he said. “So regarding the elections in the DPR and LPR, we certainly expressed respect for their results.”
Fierce clashes between troops loyal to Kiev and local militias in the Donetsk andLuhansk regions during Kiev’s military operation, conducted since mid-April, to regain control over the breakaway southeastern territories, which call themselves the Donetsk andLuhansk People’s republics, have killed over 4,000 people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee Ukraine’s southeast.
The parties to the Ukrainian conflict agreed on a ceasefire at talks mediated by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on September 5 in Belarusian capital Minsk two days after Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed his plan to settle the situation in the east of Ukraine.
Numerous violations of the ceasefire, which took effect the same day, have been reported since.
In another attempt by both parties to the Ukrainian conflict to put an end to hostilities, the "day of silence" in eastern Ukraine began at 09:00 a.m. local time (0700 GMT) on December 9.