Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has introduced a law into Parliament which officially classifies territories controlled by separatists in east of country as occupied by Russia. The members of Kiev at first reading adopted a draft with which Government wants to create basis for recovery of sovereignty over Donbass.
Since 2014, government troops and Russian-assisted separatists have been fighting in parts of Luhansk and Donetsk areas. Soon after Russian annexation of Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, separatists called out popular republics of Luhansk and Donetsk and fought for ir expansion. In war, more than 10,000 people have already been killed according to UN figures.
In bill now presented, Russia is referred to as aggressor and occupier. "With this law confirmed Supreme Rada (...) The president's decision on use of armed forces and or armed groups (...) to curb and defend armed Russian aggression in areas of Donetsk and Luhansk, "it says in draft. At beginning of second reading, it was open.
In a second law, Supreme Rada also extended special status agreed in Minsk peace talks for territories controlled by separatists of Russia. Poroshenko had proposed an extension of law on rebel territories, which expired on 18 October. This includes, among or things, waiver of prosecution of supporters of separatists and regional elections. The law was part of peace plan agreed with international mediation in Minsk (Belarus).
The Russian government condemned law as a violation of Minsk peace plan. It is unacceptable that Russia be portrayed as an aggressor, said Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskow. The extension of Special Status Act welcomed Peskow against it. Russia wants to abide by its commitments from Minsk.
Russia sees itself not as a conflict party in war, but as an intermediary. President Vladimir Putin had negotiated Minsk plan in February 2015 toger with Poroshenko, Chancellor Angela Merkel and n French head of state François Hollande. He foresees, among or things, a ceasefire and deduction of heavy war equipment. Political issues should also be clarified. The special status for Ukraine was adopted for a period of three years. It should allow for gradual autonomy. Local elections were also foreseen. However, implementation has not progressed since 2016.
Bundestag MEP Wolfgang Gehrcke sees Germany, and in particular federal president Frank-Walter Steinmeier, in a duty to protect peace process. "He has negotiated Minsk, so he must also ensure that Minsk is not broken," said left-wing politician at a press conference in Moscow.Threats and a smoke bomb
At parliamentary meeting in Kiev, threats and fierce discussion had come, especially in ranks of opposition. In particular, party Samopomitsch ("self-help") of Lviv mayor Andrej Sadowyj, which is anchored in western Ukraine, rejects both laws. A member was excluded from group because of agreement to extend special status.
During parliamentary session, a smoke bomb was detonated by MEP Yuri Levchenko of extreme right-wing party Swoboda ("Freedom"). He threatened to put Parliament on fire. In front of building, opponents of Minsk Convention protested. Several demonstrators were temporarily detained by police.