MOSCOW, June 3 /TASS/. Preparations for elections in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics have got under way but the escalation of military conflict in Donbas can easily disrupt the political process, Andrei Kelin, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), said.
"It is assumed that contacts and work in this direction will start after certain stabilization. I should say that this work has already got under way," Kelin said in an interview with the Rossiya 24 television news channel. At the same time, he noted that Kiev’s stance was not contributing to that work.
‘’It is necessary to give an account of the fact that if fighting resumes and shots will be fired, the whole thing will fall apart. In this way, it will be possible to put off the moment of political settlement for such a long period of time that it will turn out to be a distant future," the Russian diplomat said.
"We are making the very first steps here," Kelin went on to say.
Earlier on Wednesday, Vladimir Kononov, the defense minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), said that the Ukrainian Armed Forces had started shelling the positions of DPR’s militias on broad front along the disengagement line on Wednesday morning. As a result, at least fifteen people, including militias and civilians, were killed. Kononov said that the Ukrainian army had planned its actions designed to disrupt the Minsk-2 process in advance.
For his part, Eduard Basurin, a spokesman for the DPR’s Defense Ministry, said the order to open fire at DPR’s cities and populated localities had been issued by the Ukrainian army command and had not been a result of actions by Ukraine’s voluntary battalions.
The Ukrainian army regularly violates the ceasefire regime imposed as part of implementation of a package of measures designed to implement the Minsk agreements that members of the Contact Group for the Donbas settlement signed in the Belarusian capital on February 12, 2015.
The document which was earlier agreed by the "Normandy Four" leaders (Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine) envisages, above all, a comprehensive ceasefire and withdrawal of heavy weapons from the disengagement line to create at least a 50-kilometers security zone; a constitutional reform and decentralization of power in Ukraine. Ukraine’s updated fundamental law is expected to come in force by late 2015. The package of measures also suggests holding elections in regions with special status on agreement with the regions’ representatives and in compliance with the OSCE standards.