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Ukraine ruling party lawmaker warns opposition against defying amnesty bill

January 30, 2014, 9:20 UTC+3 KIEV
Amnesty bill was drafted by President Viktor Yanukovich’s representative in parliament Yury Miroshnichenko
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KIEV, January 30. /ITAR-TASS/. A member of Ukraine’s ruling Party of Regions has warned the country’s opposition against defying a new bill adopted late on Wednesday by the Ukrainian parliament on amnesty for participants of ongoing mass protests.

The law envisions a pardon for all people who took part in riots during mass anti-government demonstrations in Ukraine except for those who committed grave crimes. Protesters have 15 days to vacate state institutions they seized.

“The law stipulates steps on the part of both the authorities and the opposition,” MP Mikhail Chechetov said in a statement. “They vacate the seized buildings. We free protest participants from responsibility. This is compromise.”

“But if they fail to fulfill their part of responsibility, the law ‘dies’ and there’ll be no amnesty,” he said. “Then [opposition leaders] [Vitali] Klitschko, [Arseny] Yatsenyuk and [Oleg] Tyagnibok will be to blame should hundreds of people be brought to account for law violations.”

Continuing dialogue

Ukraine’s warring parties should abandon the language of ultimatums and violence and conduct political dialogue, a parliamentarian from the ruling Party of Regions, Yelena Netetskaya, said in an interview with Itar-Tass on Thursday.

“It is very important not to stop dialogue,” she said. “If now we miss this chance, if the language of ultimatums and threats prevails and ambitions overpower common sense, we will simply lose our country. There will be no winners, everybody will lose and people will not forgive us.”

Netetskaya said the authorities had demonstrated readiness to make reciprocal steps towards the opposition. “Now it depends on political forces in Ukraine’s parliament whether they are able to lead the country out of the crisis.”

The parliamentarian expressed confidence that further street protests would only escalate intolerance and violence in the society.

“On barricades it is only possible to destroy something, while something new can be created only though dialogue, and the street is not the best place for this,” Netetskaya said.

Amnesty bill draft

The amnesty bill was drafted by President Viktor Yanukovich’s representative in parliament Yury Miroshnichenko. A total of 232 MPs voted for it. Opposition leaders said they were reluctant to comply with the law.

Anti-government protests hit Ukraine after Kiev refused to sign an association agreement with the European Union in November, choosing closer ties with Russia instead. A second wave of demonstrations that turned violent occurred in Ukraine after parliament toughened punishment for public order violations on January 16. Some of the new tough laws were later repealed.

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