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Separatists Plan Elections On Different Dates Than Rest Of Ukraine

The head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, Aleksandr Zakharchenko, (right) and his Luhansk counterpart, Igor Plotnitsky, attend a press conference in Donetsk in July.

The self-proclaimed leader of Ukraine's breakaway Donetsk region, Aleksandr Zakharchenko, has signed a decree that schedules elections for local self-government bodies on October 18.

Elections in territory under the control of pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine's Luhansk region are planned for November 1.

The scheduled dates do not coincide with elections scheduled in parts of Ukraine.

Ukrainian government officials in Kyiv have indicated that holding the votes on a different date than local elections in the rest of the country would be considered a violation of the Minsk peace agreements.

Denis Pushilin, the separatist Donetsk region's envoy to the so-called Contact Group on Ukraine's crisis, said on September 16 that the Minsk agreement calls on Kyiv to coordinate with separatist leaders about elections in eastern Ukraine.

He said the separatists decided on "yet another unilateral implementation of the Complex of Measures [for Fulfilment of the Minsk agreement]" because Kyiv has never coordinated on the issue.

Voting for representatives of other local self-government bodies in Ukraine are scheduled for October 25.

Based on reporting by Interfax and Rossia 24