U.S. Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland has said that the United States will not recognize elections in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics if they run counter to the Minsk agreements, according to Russian news agency TASS.
"We will not recognize the results – and nor will anybody else in the international community – of any elections held in Donbas outside of the Minsk framework and without the agreement that is represented in the Minsk that these need to be Ukrainian elections that meet Ukrainian standards and meet OSCE standards," Nuland told journalists after a meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov on Wednesday, TASS wrote.
"So a bunch of guys out there just deciding to call an election is not going to lead to peace and security in Donbas. And we will respectfully encourage them instead to focus on Minsk compliant elections," she said.
According to Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov, the meeting in Moscow between Nuland and Russian presidential aide Vladislav Surkov was a brief exchange of views on the situation in eastern Ukraine.
"It [the meeting held in Moscow on Tuesday] was not to bring any results, it was just a brief exchange of views," the Kremlin representative said, answering a question about the results of that contact.
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Peskov said that the conversation with Nuland in Moscow focused on Ukraine, the situation in Donbas and the implementation of the Minsk agreements. "You know that the United States is not a participant in the Normandy process, and a decision was made to share firsthand information, establish a kind of a working mechanism for the exchange of views. Such contacts take place within this mechanism," said the Kremlin official.
According to Peskov, Nuland has confirmed Washington's readiness to lift the sanctions imposed on Russia amid events in Donbas after the Minsk agreements are implemented.
"We want to see Minsk implemented as soon as possible," Nuland told reporters after talks in Moscow. "We think that it is now time to really step on the gas and see this implemented."
"As our president has said if and when Minsk is fully implemented, sanctions can be rolled back," she said.
In 2014, the EU and the U.S. imposed sanctions against Russia over developments in Ukraine and have repeatedly extended and expanded them.