Ukraine's Ambassador to the United States Valerii Chalyi said in an interview to ZN.UA, when asked whether the West seriously believes that it is possible to hold democratic elections in "certain territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions" in current conditions according to all OSCE standards, Censor.NET reports.
"But we clearly understand that it is difficult to imagine holding any elections without withdrawal of equipment, without closure of the border, which all of this equipment is supplied through, without the release of the hostages. And when the situation comes to a standstill, the European partners are starting, so to say, to encourage Ukraine to be more active in the implementation of the Minsk Agreements. Even if some items are not fulfilled by Russia," Chalyi said. Commenting on the remark that Russia has not fulfilled any article of the Minsk Agreements and the question whether it is not easier for the West to put pressure on Ukraine than the Russian Federation, Chalyi noted that Ukraine's cooperation with the OSCE mission and all the partners was in the order of magnitude better than the Russian Federation's one.
"Today, no one can say that Ukraine is not a responsible partner and not worth carrying out negotiations with. All attempts to show that it is Ukraine that violates the Minsk agreements has failed. This is evident from the reports of the OSCE recording presence of the Russian weapons and regular units of the Russian Federation Army in the territory of Ukraine," the ambassador said. Defining features of local self-government in certain parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions as well as the implementation of commitments on decentralization and constitutional reform were called by Chalyi the "preparatory steps" which the Ukrainian side had made. "But it is absolutely unacceptable for us if Ukraine would have made all political decisions and the people with assault rifles would "ensure" the electoral process during the elections in the Donbas," the Ambassador said. He reminded that Ukraine has clearly voiced its conditions, which by no means were contrary to the Minsk Agreements: the holding of elections according to the Ukrainian legislation, in accordance with the norms of the OSCE ODIHR with a participation of all Ukrainian political parties and the media. "We are ready to do it. Because the Donbas needs to be communicated with through the people who represent it. But these people are not the armed militants, who have shown their total inability to provide normal conditions for the people. It is profitable for them to keep fighting. They make money on it, for example, by organizing smuggling," Chalyi said. He also stressed that the Ukrainian-Russian border should be closed.
"There is an option to provide control through the OSCE first and then restore full control with the help of the Ukrainian border guards. But these moves should be at least simultaneous. It should not be like Ukraine fulfills everything it is required first and then Russia considers whether it is necessary to stop the supply of heavy equipment and mercenaries across the border. It is unacceptable. Therefore, our position is clear: on the one hand, we strictly fulfill our obligations and on the other one -we require the same strict fulfillment of the Minsk agreements by all other parties," he said.