Deputy Rada Speaker names conditions for holding elections in Donbas

The elections in the occupied areas of Donbas can only take place after ”sustainable peace” is reached, as well as complete disarmament of militants and re-establishment of control over the Ukrainian-Russian border First Deputy Head of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Iryna Gerashchenko said during a working session of the fourth meeting of the Ukraine-EU Association Parliamentary Committee.

”The Ukrainian side insists that the elections in the occupied areas can only take place in a situation of sustainable peace – not for a week, not for two weeks, but sustainable peace, with complete disarmament, because today there are 38,000-strong armed groups are present in the occupied areas. Where else in the world can the elections be held when there will soon be more arms and mercenaries than the local residents in the area, when we have 400 kilometers of uncontrolled border, and it is through this border that the weapons is supplied for mercenaries,” Gerashchenko said.

She noted that the so-called humanitarian convoys also pass through this uncontrolled border, taking out [the equipment from] the Ukrainian factories as it was during World War II – ”complete looting by the aggressor state.”

Gerashchenko stressed that Russia and its mercenaries today do not fulfill any of the provisions of the Minsk agreements, starting with the very ”silence regime”.

She has also stressed that the European Parliament does not allow its representatives to visit eastern Ukraine.

”And how does the European side see international observers doing their job there?,Those will be the citizens of France, Germany, Belgium and other countries… How are they to work for the observation mission if the representatives of the European Parliament are not allowed to go there?” said Gerashchenko.

She noted that today it is impossible to talk about a sustainable peace, and it is therefore strange to hear from the European partners the offers to the Ukrainian Parliament to proceed to a vote for the key political provisions of the Minsk agreements after the heavy military equipment is withdrawn from three sectors of the contact line.

”What will be happening in other parts of the contact line? Daily attacks?” Gerashchenko said, addressing the representatives of the European Parliament.

She noted that the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission must have full access to the occupied territory, up to the Ukrainian-Russian border. At the same time, she reminded that today the OSCE mission has no such access.

Gerashchenko noted that the MEPs should ask themselves, why the so-called humanitarian convoys from Russia have access to the occupied areas while the Red Cross has no such access.

She stressed that the Ukrainian side insisted that the security and humanitarian issues were priority issues and ”they provide the foundation for the transition to political issues.

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