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Donetsk envoy says elections in Donbass unlikely this year

June 16, 2016, 11:08 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Donetsk republic’s envoy to the Minsk talks on settling the crisis Denis Pushilin said there was no progress in yesterday's talks of the political subgroup of the Contact Group

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© Stanislav Grigoriev/TASS, archive

MOSCOW, June 16. /TASS/. The elections in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics are unlikely to be carried out this year, Donetsk republic’s envoy to the Minsk talks on settling the crisis Denis Pushilin said on Thursday.

Pushilin reminded that another meeting of the Contact Group and four working subgroups was held on Wednesday. "Unfortunately, there is no progress in the work of the political subgroup. There is our position and there is the Ukrainian position - they are completely opposite, no compromise has been reached. That’s why there is no talk about elections this year."

The DPR and LPR are still ready for elections "at any time," Pushilin said. The date of holding the polls in Donbass "depends to a large extent on the guarantor countries" and also the United States that can influence Kiev in this issue, he added.

Holding elections in Donbass is one of the key points of political settlement in eastern Ukraine. Under the Minsk deal of February 2015, the polls were due to take place last year along with the constitutional reform in Ukraine aimed at granting certain areas in the Donetsk and Lugansk region a special status on a permanent basis. However, the deadline has been repeatedly postponed due to Kiev’s refusal to comply with its commitments, in particular to grant amnesty to all participants of events in Donbass, to adopt legislation on a special status and to pass a law on elections. Late last year, the leaders of the Normandy Four group (Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine) set a new deadline for elections - the first half of 2016. Kiev still refuses to discuss preparations for elections explaining this by a low level of security in the region.

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