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Yatsenyuk: Donetsk, Luhansk people's republics not to be legalised or funded from budget

September 17, 2014, 19:28 UTC+3 KIEV
He doubted the possibility of holding legitimate local elections in certain parts of Donbass as there are no proper conditions in place there to comply with Ukrainian laws and international standards
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© ITAR-TASS/Maxim Nikitin

KIEV, September 17. /ITAR-TASS/. The law granting a special status to parts of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics does not mean their legalization, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said on Wednesday.

“No one will allow them to be legalized. This is my political position,” he said.

Yatsenyuk also said that the areas controlled by militias in the Donetsk and Luhansk republics (DPR and LPR, respectively) would get no funding from the Ukrainian budget.

“We will not finance the DPR and LPR,” he said, adding that funding would be provided only to Kiev-controlled areas.

“We will finance restoration from the state budget when Ukrainian rule is restored and enterprises begin to work in this territory,” Yatsenyuk said.

He suggested creating a special fund to finance the restoration of infrastructure in areas controlled by militias. The fund will accumulate money to be provided by tycoons and international donors, he said.

“We will not take away money from Lviv, Poltava or Zhitomir, or from Ukrainian pensioners, medics and teachers and use it to rebuild the territories that are not controlled by Ukraine. We will organize a donor conference,” he said

Yatsenyuk questioned some of the provisions in the law on the special status of Luhansk and Donetsk regions commonly known as Donbass, specifically the creation of a people’s police force there.

“Any armed formation must act in accordance with Ukrainian laws which must apply to all Ukrainian servicemen,” he said.

He also doubted the possibility of holding legitimate local elections in certain parts of Donbass as there are no proper conditions in place there to comply with Ukrainian laws and international standards.

The government can finance these elections only “if the Central Electoral Commission announces them”, Yatsenyuk said.

An invitation to talks?

The DPR authorities took the law on the special status as an invitation to militias to begin negotiations with Kiev, DPR First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Purgin said.

“The first positive result of this step is that we are no longer called terrorists. Second, the law gives us the right to develop political and economic relations with foreign countries,” he said.

But the law will not affect the DPR’s drive for independence as “thousands of people have died in the struggle for the right of the Russian-speaking people to be part of the Russian world and be Russians”, Purgin said.

The DPR is not planning to hold elections to the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament) on October 26. “We will ignore the elections to the Verkhovna Rada,” he said.

Instead, the DPR will hold its own elections to the republican parliament and, possibly, to municipal bodies. “We will hold our elections before the end of the year. The date has not been determined yet as there is no law on elections in the DPR. It has yet to be adopted,” Purgin said.

Radicals burn flares and hurl smoke grenades

The law on the special status of some part of Donbass was welcomed in the rest of the world as corresponding to the Minsk agreement on the settlement of the conflict in eastern Ukraine and facilitating the peaceful settlement of the conflict in Ukraine, EU External Action Service spokesperson Maja Kocijancic said.

However, the law met a controversial reaction within Ukraine, primarily among radicals. Nationalistic Right Sector activists gathered in front of the presidential administration building on Wednesday, demanding that the law be vetoed. Several hundred of them were burning flares and hurling them and smoke grenade at police.

Several lawmakers have already submitted counter motions cancelling the law.

In the meantime, border guards are drawing the border line around the parts of Donbass controlled by militias “to prevent an expansion of the territories with special status”, former head of the Foreign Intelligence Service Nikolai Malomuzh said.

“There will be technical and electronic control. This is the newest technology. And there will be stations along the entire perimeter. This is the first line. The second line is stationary control. The third line is fortification installations: moats, strongholds and towers. This is the technical component,” he said.

Malomuzh believes that in the future these areas will return to Ukraine. “We will stabilize the situation, rebuild the economy in regions and they will reintegrate into the Ukrainian economy and Ukraine,” he said.

On Tuesday, the Ukrainian parliament granted a special status to certain parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions for three years. It calls for local elections in these areas on December 7. Their residents will be able to use Russian or any other language freely.

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