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Poroshenko threatens Russia with sanctions if elections in Donbass recognised
Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko has threatened Russia with an extension of sanctions if Moscow recognises local elections in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics [DPR and LPR respectively], Poroshenko said in an interview aired by Ukrainian television channels on Saturday.
"If Russia recognises them [local elections in DPR and LPR], it will be a rude violation of the Minsk [agreements]," Poroshenko said warning that this might end in "an extension of sanctions for Russia along with other consequences."
Ukraine's president called the elections in DPR and LPR "faked" and promised that "we will do everything in order not to allow repetition of this process."
On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the vote in the DPR and LPR scheduled for October 18 and November 1 would not violate the Minsk deal as it specifies no dates.
Lavrov noted that the Minsk agreements "contain several provisions which have long been crudely violated by the Ukrainian government." The minister reminded that under the Minsk accords, Kiev had to launch talks with Donetsk and Lugansk on the modalities of holding the elections the day when the withdrawal of artillery began in April.
"Kiev should have entered the dialogue, the consultations with Donetsk and Lugansk in the aspect of modalities of holding the elections," he said adding Ukraine's laws should be observed and observers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) should be invited.
Besides, on March 12 the deadline expired for enactment of the law on the special status of Donetsk and Luhansk, Lavrov said. To this aim, a special regulation designating the territories subject to the law was to be adopted.
"This was not done: a law was adopted, the territories were designated, but the same law said that it will not work on the territory of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk republics," Lavrov said.
These facts prove that the Ukrainian side violated the provisions of the Minsk peace agreements, known as Minsk-2, already this spring, he said.
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 Donbass region.
Local elections in Minsk peace accords
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 Luhansk 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.
Until now, Kiev has been upholding a dead-end position: Donbass should be granted a special status only after the elections while the elections will take place after the region stops resisting although the aim of resistance is actually legislative confirmation of the special status.
Along with this, in spite of the Minsk agreements prescribing to enter a dialogue on the modality of the elections with the republics' representatives immediately after the withdrawal of heavy weapons and to hold these elections until the end of the year 2015, Kiev rejects both options.
Moreover, elections in the parts of Donbass, which are not under Kiev's control, are not envisaged by the law on local elections approved by the Ukrainian parliament Verkhovna Rada in the summer. In these conditions the self-proclaimed republics announced they would hold the elections on their own and determined the dates for these elections. As Ukraine scheduled local elections for October 25, the DPR would vote on October 18 and the LPR - on November 1.
[Source: Itar Tass, Kiev, 26Sep15]
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