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KIEV, October 12. /TASS/. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has condemned plans of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) to organize elections in 2016, the press service of the Ukrainian head of state said on Monday after Poroshenko’s meeting with a delegation from the United States Congress.
"He said the date of local elections will be appointed after the Verkhovna Rada [Ukrainian parliament] passes a relevant law on the basis of the Ukrainian legislation and the standards of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR)," the press service said.
On October 6, the self-proclaimed republics announced their decision to postpone local elections from October 18 and November 1, respectively, to 2016 on condition Kiev fully implements political provisions of the MInsk-2 settlement package. Thus, according to their statement, Ukraine is to grant a special status to Donbass, to ensure that participants in the development in the DPR and LPR will not be prosecuted and to re-vote amendments to the constitution in a new edition that will be agreed with the DPR and LPR.
On October 10, DPR head Alexander Zakharchenko signed a decree appointing elections in the republic on April 20, 2016. On October 12, a similar decree setting the election date on February 21, 2016 was signed by LPR head Igor Plotnitsky.
The Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine comprising senior representatives from Russia, Ukraine and the European security watchdog OSCE on February 12, 2015, signed a 13-point Package of Measures to fulfil the September 2014 Minsk agreements. The package was agreed with the leaders of the Normandy Four, namely Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine.
The Package of Measures, known as Minsk-2, envisaged a ceasefire between Ukrainian government forces and people’s militias in the self-proclaimed republics in Donetsk and Luhansk starting from February 15 and subsequent withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of engagement. The deal also laid out a roadmap for a lasting settlement in Ukraine, including local elections and constitutional reform to give more autonomy to the war-torn eastern regions.
To spur up the work of the Contact Group, four working subgroups were set up within it on four key aspects of the Minsk agreements, namely on issues of security; on political issues; on issues of prisoner exchange and refuges; and on social, humanitarian and economic aspects.