Provisions for the Special Status of Donbass Are Included in Kiev’s Bill on “Reintegration”

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


Basic provisions for providing special status to certain districts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions are included in the new bill for the reintegration of Donbass. This was reported on October 2nd by the Vice-Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada Oksana Syroid, who, on her page on Facebook, expressed her indignation concerning the forthcoming vote in parliament on this document.

“The extension of this status [the special status of Donbass] is hidden in the thicket of transitional provisions of the draft of the so-called ‘law on reintegration’,” she wrote.

According to the Syroid, on Friday she received a phone call at the request of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “They asked to vote for the extension of the act of law on special status for the occupied parts of Donetsk and Lugansk regions (period of validity of the law comes to an end on October 18th). Interest in voting was expressed also by other representatives of international partners,” she said. Interlocutors, according to her, noted that if the Rada doesn’t vote, then it “will be difficult for representatives of the West to dispute with Russia, which says that Ukraine doesn’t want to implement the political part of Minsk”.

The Vice-Speaker herself called the forthcoming vote “another presidential storm of the Ukrainian constitution and statehood”.

The law “on the Special Order of Local Government in Certain Districts of the Donetsk and Lugansk Regions”, which is the basis of the political settlement according to the Minsk Agreements, was adopted in October, 2014, for a period of three years. However, in practice it wasn’t implemented by Kiev. In March, 2015, the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, contrary to the Minsk Agreements, without coordination with representatives of Donbass made amendments to the document, which in fact blocked its action.

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On October 18th, 2017, the three-year period of validity of the law expires. In this regard a question arose about the need for its extension. However Kiev as of this moment has kept silence concerning such a possibility. At the same time work has been ongoing on another bill, which received the name “On Characteristics of State Policy Regarding the Restoration of Ukraine’s State Sovereignty Over the Temporarily Occupied Territories of the Donetsk and Lugansk Regions” (on the reintegration of Donbass).

In particular, inside the bill it is proposed at the legislative level to cement the status of Russia as the “aggressor country”, and, concerning the region itself, the concept of “temporarily occupied territories” is introduced. In this case the President’s powers with respect to the possibility of using the Armed Forces are expanded. Earlier it became known that the Administration of the President of Ukraine finished coordination of the text of the bill and counts on its acceptance in the Rada before October 18th.

The military expert and editor of the “Natsionalnaya Oborona” magazine Igor Korotchenko in comment to noted that the new law on the reintegration of Donbass is the legitimization of violence by the Ukrainian authorities in the conflict zone.

“This law means the legitimization of violence at the level of the State and also the legitimization of the financial, political, and economic blockade that is carried out by the Ukrainian authorities concerning citizens of the LPR and the DPR. Plus, the next propaganda trick in order to accuse Russia is allegedly that it has its troops there and carries out military operations,” considers the expert.

In turn, the head of the Federation Council Committee on International Affairs Konstantin Kosachev believes that “the intention of Kiev to call Russia the ‘aggressor country’ at the legislative level, however paradoxical it may be, shows only that Kiev doesn’t have enough arguments for this”.

“When there is real aggression, there is no need to write anything anywhere, and the aggressor is obvious to all. While there is neither proof nor confidence, so they are obliged to adopt laws in which they state who should be considered as the aggressor, and who shouldn’t. Because it isn’t obvious, but there is a strong desire,” wrote Kosachev on his Facebook page.

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