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Former president urges Kiev to analyze Donbas-proposed changes to Ukraine constitution

June 18, 2015, 16:26 UTC+3 KIEV
Leonid Kravchuk, post-Soviet president from 1991 to 1994, believes if the eastern Ukraine's proposals come up, they should be considered and analyzed
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Kiev, Sofiyskaya Square

Kiev, Sofiyskaya Square

© Vladimir Sindeev/ITAR-TASS Archive

KIEV, June 18. /TASS/. Ukraine's first post-independence president has called on Kiev authorities to study constitutional amendments proposed by the self-proclaimed eastern republics of Donetsk and Luhansk.

"I believe that if these proposals came up, they should be considered and analyzed," Leonid Kravchuk, post-Soviet president from 1991 to 1994, told TASS on Thursday.

He said he had raised the issue at Wednesday’s meeting of a constitutional commission, created to review Ukraine’s constitution, asking parliament "to consider these proposals with regard to their form and content" and "to explain whether they are suited for amendments or contradict certain provisions of the constitutional process".

"In response, [Verkhovna Rada Speaker Volodymyr] Groysman said he had not received such proposals," Kravchuk added.

As part of peace agreements signed in Minsk, Belarus, in February, authorities of the Donetsk and Luhansk republics in mid-May submitted their proposals for Ukraine’s constitutional make up.

They spelt out in detail their special status within Ukraine and provided definitions of their rights and responsibilities.

Constitutional reform proposals

On June 8, the self-proclaimed republics unveiled their additional proposals concerning powers of the current local authorities. The text of the Ukrainian constitution remained unchanged.

Vladislav Deinego, the Luhansk republic’s envoy to the Contact Group of senior representatives from Ukraine, Russia and European security watchdog OSCE, said the sides acted strictly in line with the complex of measures to fulfill the Minsk peace deal.

"We open Ukraine’s constitution and look at the respective article. We have not withdrawn anything from it, we only supplemented it," he explained.

Constitutional reform is a key part of the February 12 comprehensive action plan to fulfill the Minsk accords worked out by leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France.

A key element of the reform is decentralization of government with respect to the peculiarities of certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions agreed with their representatives, as well as adopting permanent legislation on the special status of certain Donbas areas.

In late March, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed a decree establishing a constitutional commission tasked with amending the country’s constitution.

The commission comprises 72 members, including 13 experts of international organizations. It also includes representatives of parliamentary factions, scientists and experts, as well as three former Ukrainian presidents.

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