Elections in the Donbass are only possible if Russian-backed terrorists stop violating the Minsk agreements by firing on Ukrainian troops and civilians, said the US Ambassador to Ukraine Jeffrey Payette in an interview.

“We support the efforts of Prime Minister Vladimir Groisman, Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko and the Verkhovna Rada Speaker Andrey Parubiy to promote legislation on elections in these regions. But the US also believes that elections under the OSCE standards are only possible if violence is stopped,” outgoing US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey R. Pyatt told a news conference in Kiev.

He also reminded that one of the first clauses of the Minsk agreement provides for a complete ceasefire:

“Recent days have shown that Russian-backed terrorists do not abide by this clause”.

Payette reiterated ‘anxiety and concern’ of the US over escalation of the conflict in eastern Ukraine in recent days.

“We have witnessed Russian-backed separatists down an OSCE drone. The OSCE reports separatists’ convoys moving along the line of contact and continuing their attacks,” said the US Ambassador.

At the G7 summit US President Barack Obama mentioned the need to put an end to violence in the Donbas.

“And Russia can make it happen,” Payette said.

Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko does not exclude the possibility of elections in the Donbass region in 2016 if certain conditions are met, such as: ensuring security, putting in place a ceasefire enforced by an armed international peacekeeping force deployed on the line of contact and on the border with Russia, and returning the occupied territories under Ukraine’s jurisdiction.