MOSCOW, November 18. /TASS/. The Ukrainian delegation has not come to a meeting of the political sub-group of the Contact Group on the Ukrainian crisis settlement that was scheduled for Wednesday, representative of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) at the talks in Minsk Denis Pushilin said.
"During yesterday's meeting the Ukrainian representative in the group, Vladimir Gorbulin, confirmed that Ukraine’s representatives would attend today’s meeting, however, they have not come to the meeting and sent no notification of their refusal to participate," the Donetsk news agency quoted him as saying.
Meanwhile, he said, a serious phase of negotiations on the preparation of a special law on local elections in Donbas was to take place on Wednesday.
"In all likelihood, Ukraine does not support the desire of either the [DPR and LPR] republics or coordinator Morel to fulfil the package of Measures for implementing the Minsk agreements as quickly and efficiently as possible, apparently, our partners in the negotiations have their own view on the processes that coincides neither with the position of the OSCE (Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe) nor the position of the republics," Pushilin said in this regard.
He also said that the agenda of the group’s Wednesday meeting included the discussion of the provisions on the impossibility of participation of Ukrainian political parties in local elections in the south-eastern Donbass region, as well as the mechanism for the participation in the elections of internally displaced persons and the draft law on amnesty.
Denis Pushilin said previously that the political subgroup had failed to reach understanding on Tuesday on elections in Donbas. "There is no understanding, no consensus on elections. Nevertheless, the political subgroup continues its work," he said.
The Ukrainian side, in his words, "is seeking to interpret these issues its own way to submit its concept of the bill [on elections] to the Verkhovna Rada." "But this concept has not been agreed with us, it has not been agreed within the political subgroup," Pushilin said. "It would be wrong to use this concept as a basis for a future bill. Naturally, we will never recognize any such editions because they directly violate the Minsk-2 package."
"Everything the Verkhovna Rada [Ukraine’s parliament] is to adopt on elections must be coordinated and agreed within the subgroup," he stressed. "There is no other option."
Local elections in certain districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions are among the provisions of the of the February 12 comprehensive action plan to fulfil the Minsk accords worked out by the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France in the search for peace in the embattled eastern Donbas region.
The Package of Measures, known as Minsk-2, envisaged a ceasefire between Ukrainian government forces and people’s militias in the self-proclaimed republic in Donetsk and Lugansk 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.