MOSCOW, May 12. /TASS/. Chief peace negotiators from east Ukraine’s self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics said on Tuesday they had forwarded their proposals on municipal elections to the Contact Group on the Ukraine crisis.
Denis Pushilin and Vladislav Deinego, plenipotentiary representatives of the Donetsk and Luhansk republics at peace talks aimed at easing the conflict in Ukraine’s east, said in a joint statement: "The draft law concept is based on an independent formation by local residents of interim election commissions. These commissions will outline the order of organising polls, election campaigns and vote counts."
Addressing the other representatives of the Contact Group - OSCE special envoy for Ukraine Heidi Tagliavini, former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, Russia’s ambassador Azamat Kulmukhametov and coordinator of the working group on political issues Pierre Morel, Pushilin and Deinego said that their proposals included Ukraine’s draft law on modalities of conducting local elections, stipulated in the Complex of Measures for Fulfilment of the Minsk Agreement of February 12, 2015.
The Ukrainian parties whose representatives participated in launching a military operation in the country’s southeast, introducing an economic blockade in the region, fanning military propaganda and stirring social and interethnic strife will not be admitted to the elections in the Donbass region, the statement says.
"The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and representatives of other international organisations will monitor the elections. In accordance with the standards of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), the elections will be held after the military operation regime is lifted and the Ukrainian law on amnesty of the Donbass militias and political activists is adopted," it says.
Another prerequisite for the elections is enactment of Ukraine’s law granting "special status" to parts of the two eastern regions and complete lifting of the economic blockade, the statement says.
The Donetsk republic’s Pushilin said: "These proposals comply with points four and twelve of the Minsk Complex of Measures. They will be discussed at a session of the working group in Minsk on May 22."
He added that the issue of cancelling Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s uncoordinated amendments to the "special status" law was also expected to be raised at the meeting in the Belarusian capital next week.
Pushilin said those amendments were in "blatant violation" of point four of the Complex of Measures, noting that the Minsk peace process would not move forward without cancelling them.
Self-government for the Donetsk and Lugansk regions is a key part of peace agreements worked out by the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France in Belarus on February 12.
On March 17, Ukraine's parliament voted to offer limited self-rule to parts of the two eastern regions. But Kiev insisted that the law granting "special status" should come into force only after local elections are held in the areas.
Separately, Ukrainian lawmakers adopted a resolution describing as "temporarily occupied territories" parts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, adding that this special status will stay in effect "until all illegal armed groups and military equipment, as well as groups of militants and mercenaries have left Ukrainian territory and Kiev has regained full control of the state border".
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, speaking in Moscow, said the law was a "sharp departure from the Minsk agreements".