Has peace become closer in Ukraine?
Today envoys of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics Denis Pushilin and Vladislav Dana announced that the upcoming local elections, which were originally scheduled for October 18th and November 1st, have been carried over to the next year.
"We are pleased to note the LPR’s proposal to fix a different date for the elections in Donbass if Kiev fulfills the Minsk-2 Agreement. The Normandy Quartet took this into account. The elections are planned to be held on February 21st 2016.
"We have examined Angela Merkel’s and Francois Hollande’s statements and recommendations. We also hold consultations today in Minsk with representatives of the OSCE and Russia, and we received orders from our leaders Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky,’’ gazeta.ru cites their joint statement.
In Kiev, this decision by the authorities of the DPR and LPR was welcomed. "The Ukrainian side welcomes the statement of the representatives of the individual regions of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions on the abolition of elections on October 18th and November 1st,’’ RIA Novosti cites a post of the press secretary of the Kyiv government, as well as a representative in the tripartite contact group for settlement of the situation in Donbass, Darya Olifer, on her Facebook page.
"This step will give us an opportunity to hold fair, lawful and fair elections in some regions of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions on the basis of the electoral legislation of Ukraine and with the requirements of the OSCE, which are fully consistent with the Minsk Agreement and the agreements, reached by the leaders of the Normandy Quartet in Paris on October 2nd,’’ she added.
This news has been approved beyond the Ukrainian borders.
The head of the press service of the Kremlin, Dmitry Peskov, also commented on behalf of Russia. ‘‘We welcome this decision," he said.
"In Brussels we were satisfied with this decision of the authorities of the self-proclaimed republics," he added.
According to EU diplomatic head Federica Mogherini, "the upcoming implementation will become a fundamental step towards full implementation of the agreements in Minsk."
"Together with the recent agreement on the withdrawal of small-caliber arms, this statement provides new hope for a sustainable political settlement of the conflict,’’ Federica Mogherini said.
The Director of the Center for Political Information, Alexey Mukhin, noted in an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza that this is a "predictable solution", which, together with the withdrawal of troops and the ceasefire in the Donbas, can be described as the real beginning of the implementation of the Minsk agreements.
The Director of the Institute of Political Studies, Sergey Markov, also believes that this is not the last chapter in the history of the Ukrainian crisis. "Unfortunately, the fulfillment of the Minsk agreement is extremely far off. This decision shows respect for their individual parts. It will take some time from February to October in order to carry out the military part of the agreements. But this decision shows that there is a problem in the political part, as well as Donbas having no possibility of holding elections in accordance with the Minsk Agreement, as Kiev doesn’t give the LPR or the DPR such a possibility," he concluded.