MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) will monitor the upcoming elections in Ukraine’s southeast (Donbass) only if they receive an official invitation from Kiev, Michael Georg Link, Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) was quoted as saying by the Russian Kommersant newspaper.
Link explained that ODIHR can only monitor the local elections at the request of OSCE participating states, which include Ukraine.
On Thursday, head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Alexander Zakharchenko announced that local DPR elections will be held on October 18.
The announcement followed Ukraine’s Constitutional Commission approval of amendments on the decentralization of power in the country, which do not, however, stipulate a special status for the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.
Donbass has been seeking a special status amid fighting in the region, which started in April 2014 when Kiev launched a military operation against local residents who refused to recognize the new coup-installed government.
Decentralization is one of the key provisions under the Minsk deal on Ukrainian reconciliation signed between the conflicting sides in the Belarusian capital in February. However, according to DPR and LPR (Lugansk People’s Republic), Kiev’s proposed bill has little to do with the Minsk agreement and lacks measures to end the ongoing violence in Donbass.