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Contact Group on Ukraine must press for elections in Donbass by July — envoy

March 22, 21:49 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, March 22. /TASS/. The Contact Group on the Ukrainian crisis settlement must strive for holding local elections in the troubled Donbass region by July, Russia’s representative to the Contact Group, Boris Gryzlov, said on Tuesday.

"In the first half of the year the Contact Group must focus on preparing a special law on the local elections in Donbass," Gryzlov said. "The law should be coordinated by Kiev and Donbass under the auspices of the OSCE and Russia."

A number of Ukrainian politicians close to negotiations or elections process say Kiev do not want to hold the elections neither in 2016, nor in 2017, Gryzlov added. They say between five and 25 years are needed to organize the elections in Donbass, he added.

"This way Kiev shows unwillingness to implement the Complex of Measures [of the Minsk Accords] and the agreements reached by the Normandy Quartet," he said.

Local elections in Donbass are envisaged by the Minsk accords signed last February, after negotiations in the so-called "Normandy format" in Minsk.

The foreign ministers of Russia, France and Germany spoke in favor of holding Donbass elections in the first half of 2016 at the Normandy Quartet meeting in early March.

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