The Road to Nowhere: What Ukraine Risks by Adopting the Law on the Reintegration of Donbass

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


In Ukraine the text of the bill of the reintegration of Donbass was published. As a source in the Presidential Administration told RT, the document will be submitted for consideration by parliament in the autumn. The Ukrainian authorities for the first time are going on the legislative level to assign the status of “territories that are temporarily occupied by Russia” to the DPR and LPR. According to experts, it won’t help to return the regions not controlled by Kiev, but will give a free hand to Petro Poroshenko: the President of Ukraine will be able to independently impose martial law and to directly give orders to the UAF. The consequences of Kiev’s initiative are in the material of RT.

The administration of the Ukrainian President proposed a new option for the solving of the conflict in the southeast of the country. The main points of the “settlement” are contained in the bill “On the Reintegration of Donbass”. The document was already published in Ukraine. As a source in the Presidential Administration told RT, the Verkhovna Rada plans to consider it during the autumn session. According to experts, it is in this way that the Ukrainian power wants to replace the existing format of the Minsk Agreements.

“Occupied territories”

In the text of the document the territories of the DPR and LPR not controlled by Ukraine are described as “temporarily occupied by Russia”. It is the first attempt of the government in Kiev to cement such a formulation at the legislative level. Also the Russian military is accused of crossing the border and supporting the self-proclaimed Republics. It is noteworthy that in the original version of the bill there was no mention of Russia.

“We would like to remind western partners that it is too early to lift sanctions. That’s why in the bill a list of international agreements that were violated by Russia is specified ,” noted the source in the Presidential Administration to RT.

It is planned that in the East of the country the specially created anti-terrorist operation HQ with wider powers will work with the military.

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But the main thing is that the adoption of the bill will strengthen the influence of the President. Petro Poroshenko will receive the right independently, without the approval of parliament, to impose martial law and to directly give orders to the military.

Under the attentive leadership

The bill was sent to the western partners of Ukraine for approval.

“Now we at the request of the National Security and Defense Council work in contact with our key partners, first of all with the US, Germany, France, in order to coordinate this project. We already received the first encouraging reaction from our partners,” stated the Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration Konstantin Eliseyev.

Speaking about the “encouraging reaction”, the official, probably, meant the consent of the President of France to take part in the resolution of the conflict in the East of Ukraine. Thus, the question about the lifting of the blockade of the eastern regions, which began this year on the request of the military and some People’s Deputies, was discussed with Emmanuel Macron.

“We are ready to make a compromise and, for example, we are not against lifting the blockade. But the owners must receive back the nationalized enterprises in the non-controlled territories,” reported to RT a source in the administration of the Ukrainian President, adding that such a succession of events is improbable.

Ukraine also considers the appointment of Kurt Volker of the US as the special representative to Donbass as positive signal.

Poroshenko also tried to consolidate the success at the meeting with Trump. The head of the Ukrainian State promised to buy coal from the US. And by this, as the administration hopes, the President of Ukraine could further get on the right side of his American partners.

Kiev’s own option

The bill about the reintegration of Donbass is the attempt of Kiev to propose to all negotiators its own option for the solving of the conflict, noted in conversation with RT a source in Presidential Administration.

“They try to resolve issues on the most favorable for themselves conditions,” he stressed.

Ukraine isn’t able to implement the Minsk Agreements as amnesty, which is one of conditions, will lead to protests inside the country. Kiev won’t be forgiven for this by military personnel and their families.

“Firstly, this bill is the prerequisite to the fact that Ukraine will receive an opportunity to actually refuse the territories of the DPR and LPR. Formulations of the document say that Kiev already doesn’t consider these territories as its. Thus, in this way the intention of Kiev to shift responsibility for them to Russia can be read. It will turn out that the jurisdiction of Ukraine already won’t extend to these territories, but at the same time they also won’t be under the jurisdiction of other countries,” commented  in conversation with RT the director of the Ukrainian branch of the Institute of the CIS countries Denis Denisov.

However an alternative to Minsk, as most experts consider, doesn’t currently exist.

“There are the Minsk Agreements, there is a plan of action created on their basis. All of this at the time was approved also by the UN Security Council, before this the participants of the last G20 summit expressed themselves. All the rest is just noise,” stated to RT the vice-chairman of the committee of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation on Foreign Affairs Andrey Klimov.

Refusal of the Minsk Agreements and the adoption of law on the reintegration of Donbass can have the most negative consequences.

“Concerning the introduction of martial law, in my opinion, it won’t bring anything good to citizens of Ukraine. It will give a free hand to the hawks, and under the cover of this law, it seems to me, they will be engaged in internal political conflicts, but not in the solution of the questions vitally important for Donbass,” stressed Klimov.

According to the chairman of the State Duma Committee for CIS Affairs, Eurasian integration, and relations with compatriots Leonid Kalashnikov, it will be difficult now to judge what the official reaction of Moscow on the diplomatic line will be.

“But after I read the text of this bill, where ‘occupied territories’ is constantly mentioned, everything became clear for me. The authorities of Ukraine do everything so that the word ‘occupation’ — ‘occupation by Russia’ entered into the flesh and blood of diplomacy, including American and European ones. It means that in Donbass there are no insurgents fighting for their rights, no legal demands on language and other questions, but there is only ‘occupation’. It is clear that this latest paper destined in the opinion of the world community to cement this term,” emphasised Kalashnikov in an interview of RT.

Endless deadlock

“The new bill will allow to considerably strengthen the powers of the head of State and will give him the chance to impose martial law without coordination with the Rada — it is for this purpose that this law is necessary,” considers the President of the Center for System Analysis and Forecasting Rostislav Ishchenko.

“It is purely internal political fight. If the bill is adopted as it currently is, then Poroshenko will be able to frighten his opponents with the introduction of martial law. But it is necessary to consider that the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, being in Kiev, noted that the new law must correspond to the constitution. And the constitution doesn’t give the President the right to impose martial law in an individual order. That’s why Poroshenko’s opponents will rest on both the constitution and the position of Washington, and will try to introduce into law advising additions — in one word, a fascinating internal political fight is ahead,” said the expert in an interview to RT.

However if the bill is adopted, according to analysts, it will only push the situation in the east of Ukraine to a deadlock.

“This document crosses out all previous agreements, and already nobody will conduct negotiations — because there is simply nobody to do it with as there are no ‘occupiers’,” stressed Leonid Kalashnikov.

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