The French president, Emmanuel Macron, and the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, disavowed the elections held yesterday in the separatist republics of Donetsk and Lugansk that are beyond the control of the Ukrainian authorities.
"Illegal and illegitimate elections in certain territories in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions (…) contradict the spirit of the Minsk agreements" and the declaration of the leaders of Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine – in what is known like the Normandy format – on the application of those agreements, Macron and Merkel said in a joint statement.
The French president and the German chancellor insisted that "any local election" in those territories must "respect the Minsk agreements, and therefore be held in accordance with Ukrainian legislation and the OSCE standards" (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe).
The two met yesterday with the Ukrainian President, Petro Poroshenko, in Paris, and were pleased that the initiative of this in the Parliament of Ukraine has extended until the end of 2019 the law on the special status of the disputed territories of Donetsk and Lugansk .
Macron and Merkel emphasized "the responsibilities of all parties" involved in the issue of respecting the ceasefire, the withdrawal of heavy weapons and the full implementation of the Minsk agreements.
They also expressed their firm support for the prospect of a new exchange of detainees and the release of "all political prisoners" before the end of this year.