05:13 GMT +320 September 2017
    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, right, and US Vice President Joe Biden prior their statement to the media at the Presidential Administration Building in Kiev. File photo

    Poroshenko, Biden Agree to Coordinate Action on Donbass Elections

    © AP Photo/ Efrem Lukatsky
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    Crisis in Ukraine (116)

    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko agreed with US Vice President Joe Biden to coordinate action on the Minsk peace deal, including in what concerns elections in the self-proclaimed republics in the country’s southeast (Donbass).

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The country's regions of Donetsk and Lugansk agreed to postpone their local elections until 2016. Before elections in those regions can take place, Ukrainian authorities must fulfill all their obligations under the Minsk agreement.

    "We enjoy full support from the United States regarding the implementation of the Minsk process. We agreed to coordinate actions in order to ensure the ceasefire and provide access to the border and heavy weapons storage facilities for the OSCE SMM [Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe Special Monitoring Mission]," Poroshenko said as quoted on the official presidential website on Thursday.

    According to the statement posted on the website, Poroshenko and Biden paid special attention to the issue of reforms in Ukraine and agreed that there is no alternative to the Minsk peace process.

    "Also, the parties coordinated actions to intensify political process including the elaboration of the modalities of elections in the occupied territories under the Ukrainian legislation with broad participation of the international observers."

    Kiev launched a special military operation in Ukraine’s southeastern Donetsk and Lugansk regions in April 2014, after local residents refused to recognize the new Ukrainian authorities, which came to power as a result of a coup.

    The self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics (DPR and LPR), established in Donbass after the May 2014 independence referendums, have been calling for more autonomy from Kiev.

    In February 2015, a peace agreement was signed between the two sides in the Belarusian capital, Minsk. The deal stipulates a full ceasefire, a weapons withdrawal from the line of contact in eastern Ukraine, an all-for-all prisoner exchange and constitutional reforms, which would give a special status to DPR and LPR.

    Under the deal, constitutional reforms aimed at decentralizing power in Ukraine and the initiation of local elections in Donbass must have been concluded before the end of 2015.

    Crisis in Ukraine (116)


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