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KIEV, October 1. /TASS/. Ukraine knows nothing about a plan for elections in the country’s east proposed by French diplomat Pierre Morel and it refuses to consider these proposals as part of discussions aimed at easing the conflict, a senior Ukrainian administration official said on Thursday.
"We do not know such plan. We have only one plan for today — Poroshenko’s plan. We will work on it," said Konstantin Yeliseyev, deputy head of Ukraine's presidential administration.
"As for initiatives from other moderators — and Morel is moderator of the political subgroup [formed as part of the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine] — I wouldn't want to overestimate certain proposals and take them out of discussions," he said.
Earlier, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko described Morel’s proposals for conducting local elections in east Ukraine’s Donbas region as his "personal opinion".
Local elections in east Ukraine's Donbas are seen as a key element of the February 12 comprehensive action plan to fulfill the Minsk accords worked out by leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France in the search for peace in the embattled region.
The deal, announced after more than 16 hours of discussions between Vladimir Putin, Petro Poroshenko, Francois Hollande and Angela Merkel in the Belarusian capital, envisaged immediate and full bilateral ceasefire between Ukrainian government forces and people’s militia starting from February 15.
This was to be followed by withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of military engagement by at least 15 kilometers (9 miles), prisoner release and agreement for international observers to monitor the truce.
Among the terms of the deal were also a commitment to grant wider self-rule to the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, and calls for talks on their long-term status.
However, a law on local elections passed by Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, this summer does not envision elections in the regions at all. In these conditions the Donetsk and Luhansk republics took decisions to hold them on October 18 and November 1 respectively, thus triggering a frantic reaction in Kiev.
President Poroshenko said the elections would have devastating consequences for the process of de-escalation in Donbas.
In this connection, Morel, coordinating work of the Contact Group’s subgroup for political issues, proposed his own plan of untangling the problems.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Morel's plan did not quite satisfy the Ukrainian side and the self-proclaimed republics either but the differences in interpretations of its provisions could be eliminated.
He said that Moscow, Paris and Berlin had spoken in favor of consultations on the issue at an earliest possible date so that the issue of Morel's plan could be resolved at talks between leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France in Paris on October 2.