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MOSCOW, February 15. /TASS/. Ukraine is forcing the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk to hold elections without coordinating the date with Kiev to later accuse Donbass of undermining the Minsk peace deal, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said on Monday.
"We are determined to comply with provisions of the Package of Measures [Minsk deal] on holding local elections in certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The problem is that no progress has been reached to agree on modalities of organizing them as part of the Contact Group," Karasin said in an interview with the Profile magazine.
The high-ranking diplomat said the reason is that Kiev "remains unwilling to search for mutually acceptable solutions to this issue despite the fact that Donetsk and Luhansk have shown their readiness for a compromise many times."
"The Ukrainian side is in fact pushing Donetsk and Luhansk towards holding elections at the announced date and apparently expects to avoid its commitments under the Minsk deal by accusing Donbass of disrupting it," Karasin said.
The authorities of the self-proclaimed republics of Luhansk and Donetsk have earlier said that they were ready to independently hold elections of self-government bodies on February 21 and April 20, respectively, as Kiev failed to comply with the Minsk deal.
The Minsk agreements approved in the Belarusian capital on February 12, 2015 by Normandy Four [Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France] envisaged a ceasefire between the Ukrainian forces and people’s militias starting from February 15 that year.
The deal, known as Minsk-2, 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. The accords also envisaged a prisoner exchange on the "all for all" basis.
Under the document, the elections in Donbass should be held in compliance with the OSCE standards and should be monitored by the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). The issues on local elections are to be discussed and coordinated with the representatives of the self-proclaimed republics.
The Ukrainian forces and militias of the self-proclaimed republics have repeatedly accused each other of violating ceasefire and other points of the Minsk agreements.