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Diplomat reiterates Ukraine’s stance on Donbas elections

Elections must designate "legitimate representatives to talk to".

Diplomat reiterates Ukraine’s stance on Donbas elections

Ukraine has drafted all the legislation needed to hold elections in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, and is ready to discuss this issue at international meetings, Deputy Foreign Minister Vadym Prystayko told a meeting of the UN Security Council on 28 April.

“The elections are not just a significant part for the peace cause, they are also possible task. We have drafted all the necessary legislation and are ready to discuss the modality, when the leadership will gather in Minsk,” Prystayko said and stressed that the elections should be carried out "in line with the requirements of the OSCE standards and Ukrainian laws."

Ukraine also urged the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to contribute to the deployment of a police mission in Donbas. "Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has recently proposed deploying a police mission in Donbas. This would also facilitate the holding of elections in Donbas," Prystayko said.

In this regard, he noted that the status of such a mission and its composition could be figured out during the negotiations.

The elections in certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions will bring forward legitimate representatives, with whom the Ukrainian authorities will be able to negotiate.

"The only way to negotiate is to have legitimate representatives of these regions. We demand that these people are elected legally ... We are ready to coordinate (the legislation - Ed.) and in accordance with this law we shall promptly start the election, to receive, preferably this summer, legitimate representatives of Luhansk and Donetsk," Prystayko said in an interview with Voice of America.

"If these people come to power after open and fair elections, we will have to look for ways to interact with them both in parliament and in local offices. Unfortunately, this is the only way to a peaceful settlement," the deputy foreign minister said.

Earlier, Ukraine said that elections in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk people's republics may take place only after the withdrawal of Russian troops and the disarmament of militants. Elections should be held under the Ukrainian legislation, with the participation of Ukrainian parties and with tolerance to Ukrainian mass media coverage of the ballot.

Also, one of the main conditions for holding of elections is the deployment of a OSCE police mission. On 3 April, Ukraine asked the OSCE to deploy armed posts on the border with the Russian Federation. In response, the militants threatened a "full-scale war, in which the West will find itself drawn into."