16:02 Jul. 5, 2016
Zakharchenko says elections will not be final and only aim to shed light on preferences among the locals
Militant leader Oleksandr Zakharchenko announced on July 4 there would be so-called primary elections in the separatist stronghold Donetsk. Zakharchenko said, the "preliminary" vote would not contradict the Minsk agreements as it would only aim to clarify the "sentiments and preferences" among the local citizens.
The militant said he was forced to make the decision because Ukraine didn't want to cooperate, according to the separatist-controlled media.
"Kyiv comes up with more excuses not to hold the elections. So to demonstrate the nullity of their allegations and to solve our own tasks of building our state, we announce the primaries", Zakharchenko said.
As he explained, the elections would not be final.
"We still have a little hope that Kyiv will fulfill its part of the Minsk deal, therefore these elections will only be preliminary", he said.
Zakharchenko, who had repeatedly refused to allow Ukrainian parties to run for elections, claimed, Donetsk residents would be able to nominate the candidates that have "true respect" of the people.
He also promised to allow the internally-displaced persons to come back to the city and cast their votes.
Ukraine's Parliament of Verkhovna Rada has registered a legislative proposal prohibiting the elections on the uncontrolled Donbas territories. Earlier in May the deputy chief of Ukraine's Central Election Commission Andriy Magera said the local elections in eastern Ukraine will be no sooner than in two years.
Later nearly 10,000 soldiers of Ukraine's Azov Battalion (Civilian Corps and Regiment) spearheaded a march in central Kyiv under the motto 'No Back Down Is What Nation Demands'. They protested the Minsk agreements and the holding of elections in the separatist-held Donbas.