The next meeting of the Contact Group on settlement of the situation in eastern Ukraine will take place ahead of the local elections in the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics (DPR and LPR).
The announcement of the local elections scheduled for November 11 was condemned by Kiev and described as the violation of Ukrainian laws and of the Minsk Agreements. The West supported Kiev. On October 30, the US, France, the UK, Sweden, the Netherlands and Poland initiated the discussion of the upcoming Donbass election at the UN Security Council session, calling them illegal.
DPR and LPR stress, however, that holding elections is aimed at preventing power vacuum in the self-proclaimed republics and ensuring security of local residents. "The main argument put forward by our 'Western friends' is that the elections contradict the Minsk Agreements. Such argument is baseless," acting DPR head Denis Pushilin said. "The Package of Measures on the implementation of the Minsk Agreements envisages coordination between the sides only when it comes to municipal elections. Nothing is said there about electing heads and parliament members. In this sense, we have a solid foundation," he added.
Moscow also thinks that November 11 elections in Donbass do not violate the Minsk Agreements. "We proceed from the fact that the elections have nothing to do with the Minsk Package of Measures from 12 February 2015, which mentions municipal elections," Russian Foreign Ministry's official spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said. "It is evident that in the current circumstances, the elections scheduled for November 11 were conditioned by the importance of filling the power vacuum after the death of DPR leader Alexander Zakharchenko and of preventing the escalation of the situation. All of this could have a negative impact on the life in the region and on the whole process of intra-Ukrainian settlement, including against the backdrop of Kiev's blockade of the region and Ukrainian leadership's threats of using force. The people of Donbass should decide on the issue of holding elections, they need to organize and regulate their own lives," she said.
Zakharova also noted that representatives of Donbass were not given a chance to speak at the UN Security Council session. "The refusal to allow representatives of Donbass speak does not leave any doubt about the biased approach of the West. This is an evident attempt to use the UNSC discussion as a shield for Kiev's total brazen sabotage of the Minsk Agreements," she stressed.