06:48 GMT +314 December 2019
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    Ukrainian servicemen walks in the yard of a destroyed building in the Pisky village near Donetsk on October 26, 2015

    Donbass Elections Impossible Amid Kiev's Military Operation - Russian Envoy

    © AFP 2019 / ANATOLII STEPANOV
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    Elections in Ukraine's eastern Donbass region are impossible while Kiev continues it's so-called anti-terrorism operation, Russia's envoy to the Trilateral Contact Group said Friday.

    MINSK (Sputnik) — 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 the self-proclaimed people's republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.

    "Elections should be carried out in accordance with OSCE standards, and following these standards is clearly impossible during the so-called anti-terrorism operation. Therefore, this operation needs to be canceled, as should the economic blockade of southeastern Donbass. It is impossible to simultaneously carry out the anti-terrorism operation and engage in political settlement," Boris Gryzlov said following a Contact Group meeting in Minsk.

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

    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 peace agreement.

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