: Russia demands to stop Anti-Terrorist Operation in eastern Ukraine

19:44 Apr. 29, 2016

Russia demands to stop Anti-Terrorist Operation in eastern Ukraine

Ukrainian soldiers ready to get on board of an APC as Ukraine conducts the Anti-Terrorist Operation to fight pro-Russian separatist forces, near Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, May 2014 (Getty Images)

Kremlin representative says Donbas elections impossible under Kyiv's military operation

Russia's representative to the Trilateral Contact Group Boris Gryzlov called on Ukraine to cancel the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) in country's eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

According to Gryzlov, Kyiv's military actions make it impossible to hold elections in Donbas.

"Elections should be held in accordance with the OSCE standards. And it is impossible to follow these standards under the so-called Anti-Terrorist Operation. Therefore, this operation must be stopped as well as the economic blockade of the south-eastern Donbas.  It is impossible to conduct the ATO and political settlement at the same time," Russia's envoy stated following the latest meeting of the Contact Group in Minsk.

According to Ukraine's representatives at the Contact Group, the Kremlin-backed separatists want to have a "wide autonomy, which will allow them to have their own president, parliament and army".

Read also Elections in Donbas: Two years of negotiations bring no progress

Kyiv categorically denies such conditions. And with the recent spike in fighting, the security issue seems to be of utmost importance. The same idea is echoed by the European politicians.

In their latest article published on the Atlantic Council site Ralf Fücks and Marieluise Beck say "the diplomatic efforts to find a political solution to the Ukraine conflict have reached an impasse."

"Implementation of the terms of the Minsk agreement—far-reaching autonomous rights for the Donbas in return for a withdrawal of Russian arms and troops, the holding of regional elections under international supervision, and Ukrainian control of the border with Russia—has come to a standstill.

Exchange of prisoners is not proceeding, there are continual violations of the ceasefire, Russian weapons and fighters continue to flood into the Donbas, and the OSCE monitoring mission is regularly impeded by the separatists," the German politician write.

Armed OSCE patrols could help establish peace during the elections, according to Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko.

But this idea has been repeatedly dismissed by Russia's representative at the Contact Group and the self-proclaimed Russian-backed separatist leaders. They keep voicing their own demands without any signs of a compromise. Based on the dynamics of the negotiations, local and international experts see no prerequisites for any possible elections this year.

 

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