Free and fair local elections cannot be held in the Donbas until Ukraine regains full control over the territories, said OSCE Chairperson Miroslav Lajcak in an interview with BBC.
“I think that free elections could only take place in a free situation, and, of course, in accordance with Ukrainian laws and with observation by international observers – the OSCE, other international organizations, that is, within the Ukrainian jurisdiction system. Only afterwards, when we attain such a situation, will we be able to organize elections and call them free,” he said.
Lajcak also believes that Russian forces must have withdrawn from the region and that Ukraine must have control over its eastern border before local elections can be held in the Donbas.
“Of course, the parties will have to arrange the specific details, and because the Donbas is Ukraine’s territory, I consider it fair that elections can only be organized in a situation where the Ukrainian authorities, the Ukrainian government, says that there is the atmosphere, the prerequisites for free elections. Such a situation does not exist today,” he added.