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Ukraine's self-proclaimed Donetsk republic intends to set election date

June 21, 16:47 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Holding local elections in Donbass is one of the key provisions of the Package of Measures on the implementation of the Minsk agreements
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© Mikhail Pochuyev/TASS

MOSCOW, June 21. /TASS/. The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) will set local elections on its own in case Ukraine’s parliament fails to pass a DPR-agreed law on elections in Donbass by July 14, DPR head Alexander Zakharchenko said on Tuesday.

"Ukraine either adopts a law on local elections agreed with us by July 14 or not. If it doesn’t, we will take a decision on local elections ourselves," the Donetsk News Agency quoted him as saying. "I doubt Ukraine will be able to pass the law on local elections in Donbass by July 14."

He said he doesn’t rule out local elections in the republic could be held this year.

Holding local elections in Donbass is one of the key provisions of the Package of Measures on the implementation of the Minsk agreements that was signed in the Belarusian capital Minsk on February 12 after marathon talks between the leaders of Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine, the so-called Normandy Four format.

Apart from that, the 13-point Package of Measures on implementation of the September 2014 Minsk agreements, known as Minsk-2, in particular included an agreement on cessation of fire from February 15, withdrawal of heavy armaments, prisoner exchange in the all-for-all format, as well as measures on long-term political settlement of the situation in Ukraine, including establishment of working subgroups as priority tasks.

Under the Minsk package, local elections in Donbass were to be held back in 2015, along with a constitutional reform to grant a special status to certain districts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

However these elections have been postponed more than once due to Kiev’s reluctance to fulfil its liabilities, in particular to grant amnesty to all participants in the developments in Donbass, to pass laws on the special status and on elections.

At the end of the last year, the Normandy Four leaders set a new timeframe for elections in Donbass - the first half of 2016. Ukraine however is still refusing to discuss that matter citing the security situation in the region as a reason and demanding full control of the border section with Russia although it should be done after the elections, as follows from the Minsk package.

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