Donbas elections only possible after Russia pulls its troops – U.S. Mission to OSCE
The United States calls for the reinstatement of Ukrainian control of its international border with Russia, U.S. Permanent Representative to the OSCE, James Gilmore, said in a statement on Russia's ongoing aggression against Ukraine and illegal occupation of Crimea.
"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take place under Ukrainian control and in a secure environment, with Russia-led forces and illegal armed formations withdrawn from Ukraine's territory," the statement reads.
Also, the official noted a continued flow of personnel and military hardware from Russia to the areas of eastern Ukraine beyond government control.
"OSCE Observers document 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 the Donbas," Gilmore said.
"The United States again calls on Russia to direct its proxies to cease their harassment of the Special Monitoring Mission, as required by Moscow’s commitments under the Minsk agreements," reads the statement.
As UNIAN reported earlier, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukraine must first regain control of the border with Russia before local elections are held in Donbas.
"The Russian president and I probably have a completely different view on the transfer of the border and on when it's possible, I'd say frankly," the head of state told a joint press conference with French President Emanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin following the Normandy Four summit in Paris December 9.