“The thing that’s blocking things is…that is what can help us is the creation of a new legitimacy in eastern Ukraine that would be possible by holding elections, and for that we need a law on elections that has been discussed for six weeks already within the frameworks of the Contact Group, and we are trying to agree this policy within the realms of the subgroups,” Steinmeier said.
“If we can get a law on elections and elections themselves…, then the likelihood of a long-term settlement will arise,” Steinmeier added.
Contacts between Russia and the United States on the Ukrainian crisis would be welcomed if they bring a settlement to the issue in eastern Ukraine, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said.
“I welcome anything that would lead to settling the conflict,” Steinmeier said in response to Russian Presidential Aide Vladislav Surkov and US Undersecretary Victoria Nuland’s meeting in Kaliningrad.
“I don’t know the contents [of the meeting] and I only know what the press is saying, but if the concluded agreements lead to [settling the conflict], then they would be welcomed,” Steinmeier added.
Kiev has been conducting a military operation in Ukraine’s eastern regions since April 2014. In February, Kiev and Donbass militia signed a deal on Ukrainian reconciliation in Minsk, which stipulated a ceasefire and the withdrawal of weapons from the line of contact.
Under the deal, constitutional reforms aimed at decentralizing power in Ukraine and the initiation of local elections in Donbas must have been concluded before the end of 2015.
The country's regions of Donetsk and Lugansk agreed to postpone their local elections until 2016. Before elections in those regions can take place, Ukraine authorities must fulfill all the Minsk agreement obligations.