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    Alexander Zakharchenko, head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DNR), speaks during an interview at his office in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on April 8, 2015

    Donetsk Leader Says Expects Local Elections in DPR in 2017

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    According to the leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, local elections in the DPR should not be expected earlier than in 2017.

    DONETSK (Sputnik) Leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic in eastern Ukraine Alexander Zakharchenko said Saturday local elections in the DPR should not be expected earlier than in 2017.

    "Although Ukraine has forcibly changed the Constitution, it has postponed the discussion of the [local elections] until the next [parliamentary] session in August-September. Then — three months for the preparation of elections and that's December 31 already, and nobody hold elections on New Year's, so it moves elections to 2017," Zakharchenko told reporters in Donetsk.

    "In any case, Ukraine is not interested in holding elections on our territory," Zakharchenko stressed.

    The self-proclaimed eastern Ukrainian region of the Luhansk People's Republic (LPR), in turn, is considering the possibility of holding elections on February 21 without Ukraine's participation as Kiev is avoiding the implementation of its obligations, according to LPR envoy to Contact Group talks Vladislav Deinego.

    Kiev has been conducting a military operation in Ukraine’s eastern regions since April 2014. In February, Kiev and Donbas militia signed a deal on Ukrainian reconciliation in Minsk, which stipulated a ceasefire and the withdrawal of weapons from the line of contact.

    Under the deal, constitutional reforms aimed at decentralizing power in Ukraine and the initiation of local elections in Donbas must have been concluded before the end of 2015. The country's regions of Donetsk and Luhansk agreed to postpone their local elections until 2016. Before elections in those regions can take place, Ukraine authorities must fulfill all the Minsk agreement obligations.

    In January, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the Minsk agreement on the Ukrainian crisis could not be realized because there was no law on the country’s elections.


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