Elections in the temporarily occupied territories of Donbas should be held under Ukrainian control and in a secure environment, with Russia-led forces withdrawn from Ukraine’s territory.
U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) James S. Gilmore said this during a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna on Thursday, January 16, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.
“The United States calls for the reinstatement of Ukrainian control of its international border with Russia. Free and fair elections should take place under Ukrainian control and in a secure environment, with Russia-led forces and illegal armed formations withdrawn from Ukraine’s territory,” he said.
The American diplomat noted that the OSCE observers documented an unrestricted flow of train cars, trucks, and military vehicles every day crossing from Russia into Russia-controlled territory in eastern Ukraine. “This unchecked flow of personnel and matériel is a direct challenge to efforts to prepare for free and fair local elections in Donbas,” he said.
The ambassador called on Russia to abide by the Helsinki Final Act principles and the Minsk agreements and to reciprocate the good faith displayed by President Zelensky’s administration.
“To end this conflict in 2020, both sides must be fully committed to the implementation of a lasting and permanent ceasefire, which is predicated upon the withdrawal of Russian forces and matériel from sovereign Ukrainian territory,” the U.S. ambassador said.
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