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Kiev delays provision of a special status to Donbass, disrupting Minsk agreements

The Parliament of Ukraine delays consideration of the draft resolution on special status of districts in Donbass and the bill on amendments. The Supreme Rada was to consider them on March17.  

The Parliament’s meeting is delayed as the Coalition Council keeps discussing the draft resolution. In the meantime, three forces in the Coalition – Radical Party, Samopomich and Batkivshchyna – have announced their unwillingness to support the bill, according to First Deputy Head of Petro Poroshenko Bloc’s parliamentary group Igor Kononenko. In the meantime, Kononenko said that “the votes for the resolution may be sufficient even despite the three parliamentary groups’ resistance.” 

The point is whether the parliamentarians will adopt the document without any changes (this will offer hope for peace in Donbass) or will start amending it, which will actually ruin the dawning dialogue with the east of the country. The Supreme Rada’s meeting is reported to be put off till 4pm local time (5pm Moscow time).   

EAD has previously reported that the Law "On Temporary Order of Local Self-Governance in Certain Districts of Donetsk and Lugansk Regions” earlier adopted by the Supreme Rada in compliance with the Minsk protocol dated 5 Sept 2014, was ineffective in fact because its validity area was not defined. According to the new Minsk agreements dated Feb 12, the Supreme Rada was to adopt such a resolution before March 14, however, Poroshenko submitted the bill overnight into March 15. Moreover, the Ukrainian Parliament's database initially lacked the text of the bill.     

On March 16, Petro Poroshenko submitted an “original” bill on amendments to Article 10 of the Law “On Temporary Order of Local Self-Governance in Certain Districts of Donetsk and Lugansk Regions.” The bill provides for a special status in Donbass only following local elections in compliance with the Ukrainian laws. This was not stipulated by the Minsk agreements.  

The DPR and LPR authorities refused to acknowledge the special status law amendments, which were not coordinated with them. They claimed that such steps are fraught with a new escalation of the conflict. Official Moscow also condemned Kiev's “independent activities”.  Actually, head of the parliamentary group of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc Yuri Lutsenko confirmed the Kiev authorities' non-constructive stand on the conflict settlement and the creation of a deadlock situation when he said on March 16 that the 2015 elections in Donbass are unlikely. “Will they (local elections in the part of the Donbass territory beyond Ukraine’s control) be held this year? It is low probable,” said Lutsenko. He stressed that the local elections in the districts beyond Ukraine’s control will be held “when this part of Donbass has Ukrainian flags, Ukrainian police, Ukrainian parties and Ukrainian laws.”

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