“The United States condemns the announcement of a plan to conduct ‘elections’ in the so-called ‘Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics.’ Given the continued control of these territories by the Russian Federation, genuine elections are inconceivable, and grossly contravene Russia’s commitments under the Minsk agreements. By engineering phony procedures, Russia is once more demonstrating its disregard for international norms and is undermining efforts to achieve peace in eastern Ukraine. The so-called ‘people’s republics’ that Russia created have no place within the Ukrainian constitutional order,” Nauert said.
The conflict in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbass started in 2014, when Ukrainian authorities launched a military operation against the DPR and LPR that refused to recognize the new government in Kiev, which came to power after what they considered to be a coup. In February 2015, the warring parties signed the Minsk peace accords to end the fighting in the region, but the situation remained tense, with both parties accusing each other of ceasefire violations.
Last week, the DPR Operational Command's deputy chief Eduard Basurin called on Kiev to to give up attempts to exacerbate the conflict. According to the official, the Ukrainian forces have deployed about 100 pieces of heavy weaponry near Kiev-controlled Novosilka settlement in Donbas, including 18 units of Grad and 12 units of Uragan multiple rocket launcher systems.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said that the Western countries were responsible for the 2014 overthrown of then-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, which triggered the military conflict in the country.