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"Donbass reintegration" law confirms Kiev’s intention to solve conflict by force

February 24, 10:31 UTC+3

"The practical implementation of this law threatens with risks of a major escalation of the situation in Ukraine’s south-east," Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in the document, posted on its website

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© Gennady Khamelyanin/TASS

MOSCOW, February 24. /TASS/. The Ukrainian law, which comes into force on Saturday, on reintegration of Donbass confirms that Kiev wants to settle the conflict in south-east by force only, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Saturday.

"On February 24, 2018, the scandalous law on the so-called "reintegration of Donbass" is coming into fore," the Foreign Ministry said in a commentary, published on its website. "Thus, Kiev confirms aiming at settling by force the conflict in Ukraine’s south-east."

According to the Russian ministry, Ukraine’s President Pyotr Poroshenko by having signed the law "realistically dumped the Minsk accords, set loose the ‘party of war’."

"There is no mentioning a direct dialogue with authorities of the non-recognized republics, the de-escalation of the tension or the search for peaceful political settlement," the Russian authority said. "Right on the contrary, the document makes up conditions for Kiev’s occupation of the non-controlled territories in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, it legalized use of the Ukrainian military against civilians."

"There has been, though fragile, hope President P. Poroshenko - who three years earlier participated in offering of the Minsk accords, and later on kept repeating he adheres to the agreements - could think better of it, but, alas, the Ukrainian president in reality has inked a verdict to the Minsk Complex of Measures," the Foreign Ministry said.

The new law’s coming into force coincides with an anniversary of the "coup, which the Ukrainian nationalists organized in February, 2014," the ministry continued. "The conclusions are evident: the current regime in Kiev, which had taken the power by a coup, would not accept any other methods but violence."

"The practical implementation of this law (on "reintegration of Donbass" - TASS) threatens with risks of a major escalation of the situation in Ukraine’s south-east," the ministry said. "We hope, the country’s Western supervisors realize this and would be able to use the influence they have on Kiev not to allow this scenario, which is ruining for the Ukrainian statehood, which threatens unforeseen consequences for the European stability and security."

About the law

On Tuesday, Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko signed into law the bill "On the special aspects of state policy aimed at ensuring Ukraine’s state sovereignty over the temporarily occupied areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk Regions" (on Donbass reintegration).

The law, initiated by President Poroshenko, refers to the specified eastern regions as "temporarily occupied territories" and defines Russia’s actions as "aggression against Ukraine." The law provides for setting up the joint operation headquarters of the Ukrainian armed forces to control all military units and military-civil administrations in the conflict zone and gives the president the right to use the armed forces inside the country without the parliament’s consent.

In addition, all references to the Minsk agreements have been removed from the document.

Minsk agreements

Peace settlement of the conflict in Donbass rests on the Package of Measures, known as Minsk-2, that was signed by the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine comprising senior representatives from Russia, Ukraine and the European security watchdog OSCE on February 12, 2015, after marathon 16-hour talks between the leaders of the Normandy Four nations, namely Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine. The 13-point document envisages a ceasefire between Ukrainian government forces and people’s militias in the self-proclaimed republics in Donetsk and Lugansk starting and subsequent withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of engagement. The deal also lays out a roadmap for a lasting settlement in Ukraine, including local elections and a constitutional reform to give more autonomy to the war-torn eastern regions.

These agreements, that were initially planned to be implemented by the end of 2015, have not been fulfilled until now. The Ukrainian side has been dodging implementation of the package’s political provisions citing security problems as a reason. Ukraine has failed to carry out a constitutional reform, to enforce a law on the region’s special status and to pass a law on elections in Donbass. Instead, it insists on regaining control over the border with Russia, which is to take place only after the elections, as is envisaged by the Minsk agreements. Moreover, the Ukrainian side continues the economic blockade of Donbass. In the recent months, Kiev has been pushing the idea of deployment a United Nations armed mission in Donbass, obviously, in a bid to find a pretext to waive its liabilities under the Minsk agreements.

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