Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Sunday stressed the need for legitimate elections in the country’s separatist regions in order to eventually re-integrate the pro-Moscow strongholds. Poroshenko said in a televised address that “without elections in these occupied territories, a political solution will be in a deadlock”. The so-called Minsk peace deal between government troops and pro-Russia rebels in eastern Ukraine foresees the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the battlefield and calls for a vote to be held in the separatist regions under international auspices.
The pro-Russian insurgents took a big step toward political reconciliation last week by announcing they would postpone their own disputed local elections until next year in line with Western demands.
Poroshenko emphasised the importance of re-integrating the rebel-controlled territories of Donetsk and Lugansk, acknowledging it would be “extremely difficult” but that the process was essential.