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Ukraine Separatists Say 10 Months Needed Before Elections

Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine say that local elections mandated by the Minsk process on ending the conflict in the region can only be held toward the end of this year.

Separatist official Vladislav Deinego said in the Ukrainian city of Donetsk on February 14 that first the political situation must "stabilize" and economic concerns must be addressed.

"It will take at least half a year to complete constitutional reform and at least a month to adopt a law on elections and begin preparing," he said. "It turns out it will take at least 10 months."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, speaking in Munich on February 13, urged Kyiv to adopt "constitutional reform that will reinforce the permanent status of Donbas."

In an interview with TASS on February 14, Lamberto Zannier, secretary-general of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), said his organization was prepared to facilitate elections on the separatist-held territory.

He said he had discussed with Ukrainian officials the possibility of creating an international police mission to "help creating a secure environment for the elections."

Based on reporting by TASS and Interfax

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