At a press briefing, after a meeting with Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that local elections in the Donbas would be held after the withdrawal of the Russian troops. Ukrainian President also added that he will be able to give more information only after reaching the agreement in the Normandy format talks.
Answering the question, whether the withdrawal of troops would precede the elections, Zelensky said: "Yes. Is there another option?" Zelensky noted that this is a problematic issue, that includes not only the elections.
"The most important issue is the exchange of prisoners, then we will discuss the withdrawal of troops. Now we are talking about the troop's withdrawal in Zolote and Petrovske. The next stage would be the troop withdrawal in all areas, which includes the territory of 400 km. And only after that we can talk about the format of the elections in the occupied territories," explained Ukrainian President.
Zelensky emphasized that the Donbas belongs to Ukraine, and local elections should be held according to the Ukrainian legislation.
"At the moment, I can't discuss with you all the details and terms," he specified.
On August 13, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko declared that Ukraine wants to hold next local elections not only in the controlled territories but also in the territories of the Donbas controlled by pro-Russian militants.