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EU commissioner to discuss situation in Ukraine with country's leadership and opposition

January 24, 2014, 4:22 UTC+3 KIEV
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KIEV, January 24, 2:33 /ITAR-TASS/. Stefan Fule, EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, is to discuss here on Friday the political situation that has taken shape in Ukraine with the country's leadership and the opposition. The programme for the two-day visit provides for Fule's meetings with President Viktor Yanukovich and the leaders of opposition parties. The observers' attention is riveted on his stay in Kiev, although no specific results are expected.

The Ukrainian authorities intend to avail themselves of Stefan Fule's arrival to try to convince the European Union that Ukraine "is really interested in a peaceful settlement of the present political crisis in the country". This is how Vadim Karasev, Ukraine's prominent political scientist and Director of the Institute for Global Strategy, commented on the EU commissioner's forthcoming arrival. In an Itar-Tass interview, he said he does not expect "momentous results" from Fule's visit.

Karasev drew attention to the fact that "Ukraine's authorities are looking for a "peaceful way"to settle the present situation in the country.This, he said, is indicative of their intention to look for a compromise with the opposition at the Verkhovna Rada (parliament) which will gather on January 28 for an extraordinary session. "With an eye to Fule's arrival, the Ukrainian authorities have already prepared their proposals on possible ways to get out of the present situation," the political scientist said.

Karasev is convinced that Fule will not bring a scenario for a way out of the political crisis. "He may, perhaps, ask the authorities and the opposition not to use force," Karasev said, in particular.

Meanwhile, Fule's attitude, in particular, to the laws adopted by the Verkhovna Rada on January 16 -- the laws which stiffen responsibility of protesters for breaches of law and extremist activities -- is known. He said the decisions taken by the Ukrainian parliament "give rise to concern for the state of democracy and the future of Ukraine and its partnership with the EU".

Those laws, which aroused mixed reactions in society, enterred into force in Ukraine on January 22, including the law on enhancing responsibility for participation in mass actions. The documents concern, in particular a procedure for the examination of a criminal case in absentia, the streamlining of the procedure for the deprivation of the immunity of MPs, a special commission for investigating the facts of the use of force during peaceful assemblies (of people), and criminal responsibility for the desecration or destruction of monuments to Soviet servicemen, as well as a punishment for negation or justification of the crimes of fascism.

A law that allows the examination of criminal cases in absentia, which also came into effect and the law, adopted on the opposition's insistence, on exonerating participants in peaceful assemblies within the period from November 21 to December 26, from criminal liability.

A particularly keen discussion in society has been aroused by the document on the introduction of amendments to the law "On Judicature and the Status of Judges". According to that law, the National Commission which exercises State regulation in the sphere of communications and information sciencr, will be given a right "to limit access for the subscribers of telecommunication oprrartors to the Internet resources through which information which runs counter to law is spread".

Besides, a punishment is introduced in the form of fines and correctional labour for slander in themedia and the Internet, and responsibility for extremism with the possibility of deprivation of freedom for a term for up to three years, responsibility for the blocking of buildings or facilities which ensure the activities of state governance bodies, with the possibility of deprivation of freedom fot up to five years, and enhances responsibility for breaches of law during rallies, and stipulates possibility of deprivation of freedom for up to ten years for arangements for a mass unrest.

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