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Attempts to cancel or change law on Donbass special status to bring confrontation — ForMin

September 17, 2014, 18:04 UTC+3

“We hope that all provisions of the law will be implemented in a responsible way,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement

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© ITAR-TASS/Gennady Khamelyanin

MOSCOW, September 17. /ITAR-TASS/. Attempts to change the law on a special status for the embattled Donetsk and Luhansk regions will result in confrontation in the southeastern Ukrainian regions, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.

Ukraine’s parliament on Tuesday passed the law granting a special self-rule status to certain districts in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions for three years. The text of the document was published on the Verkhovna Rada’s website. Elections to local self-government bodies were set for December 7.

“We hope that all provisions of the law will be implemented in a responsible way,” the ministry said.

“It is evident that attempts by certain political groups in Ukraine to cancel it or change its essence will again throw the situation back to confrontation in the southeast and frustrate the efforts of the international community and reasonable politicians in the country to normalize the situation,” it said.

The ministry said “Russia considers the document as a step in the right direction, which is in line with the spirit of agreements mentioned in the Geneva statement of Russia, Ukraine, the United States and the European Union of April 17, as well as the Berlin declaration of July 2,” the ministry said.

“We note that the mentioned law determines the temporary procedure of organizing a local self-government and its bodies’ activities in certain districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions,” it said.

“It is called upon to create required conditions for restoration of normal life in the region, to ensure that the citizens’ constitutional rights and freedoms are respected,” the ministry said.

“In particular, a positive assessment can be given to the law provisions that will guarantee the right of language self-determination for each resident of certain areas in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, development in certain regional districts of cross-border cooperation designed to deepen good-neighborly relations with the Russian Federation’s administrative and territorial units,” it said.

The Russian foreign policy department said “all this creates a basis for the launch of substantial constitutional process in Ukraine, including the start of dialogue aimed at contributing to national reconciliation and accord in that country”.

The special status law for some Donbass districts was stipulated by the Minsk agreements reached in early September in the Belarusian capital on the basis of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s seven-point plan proposed two days before.

Over the three years during which the special status is valid, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said, the Ukrainian authorities “will be able to implement issues of deep decentralization, which should also be a subject for making relevant amendments to the Constitution.”

Under the legislation, the citizens of the eastern Ukrainian regions will have the right to use the Russian language freely.

The law also envisions the establishment of people’s police in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and holding local elections on December 7 in some regional districts. The law stipulates restoration of industrial, transport and other facilities, creating jobs and attracting investment.

The Rada also passed a law on amnesty for participants of hostilities in Ukraine’s war-torn eastern regions except for those people who committed serious crimes.

Clashes between Kiev's troops and local militias in the southeast Ukrainian Donetsk and Luhansk regions during Kiev’s military operation to regain control over the breakaway territories, which call themselves the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s republics (DPR and LPR) have killed some 3,000 people, according to UN data.

The parties to the conflict agreed on cessation of fire during talks mediated by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Minsk on September 5. The long hoped-for ceasefire took effect the same day.

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