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Constitution adoption in conditions of Donbas blockade means continuation of war — expert

June 25, 2015, 20:57 UTC+3 KIEV
The only way out is a referendum during local elections in October for people to say what they want: "NATO or neutrality," "Federation or decentralization," Alexander Chaly believes
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© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

KIEV, June 25. /TASS/. The adoption of a new Ukrainian constitution in conditions of Donbas blockade entails its illegitimacy and continuation of war, Ukraine’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, merited legal expert of the country Alexander Chaly said Thursday.

"When we are building the ‘Wall of Yatsenyuk’ in the east and want to adopt a legitimate constitution, a question arises for what Ukraine we are adopting it. It can’t be legitimate when people in the east can’t take part in its development," Chaly said at a press conference in Kiev.

He said an illegitimate constitution can’t be adopted by force: the country is split and "it will lead to continuation of war and not restoration of peace — the key desire of the people."

Chaly said the only way out is a referendum during local elections in October for people to say what they want: "NATO or neutrality," "Federation or decentralization". Only in such conditions the constitution can be legitimate, he said.

"I am convinced that we have virtually no chances to adopt the constitution in the current constitutional process," the official said.

Amendments to Ukraine's constitution

Earlier Thursday, Verkhovna Rada Speaker Volodymyr Groysman said amendments to the Ukrainian constitution from the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics (DPR and LPR) will not be taken into account at the meeting of the Constitutional Commission scheduled for Friday, June 26.

He also said that after the meeting, the commission will send Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko its proposals on amendments to the country’s fundamental law.

The Ukrainian presidential administration expects the amendments to the constitution to be adopted in the second reading in September at one of parliament sessions.

"We want the first reading to take place in July, and the second one in September. But all this depends on the political process, for changes to the constitution are a key aspect of the decentralization reform," deputy head of the presidential administration Dmitry Shimkiv earlier told journalists.

State coup and protests in Ukraine

Economic blockade of Donbas started November 15, 2014. It was then that Poroshenko signed a decree to stop paying all social allowances in the conflict zone, including pensions. Bank servicing of the population’s and enterprises’ accounts was also banned. The DPR and LPR authorities called the decision "an act on the people’s genocide and ruin."

A coup occurred in Ukraine in February 2014. Mass protests soon erupted in Ukraine’s south-east, where local residents did not recognize the coup-imposed authorities, formed militias and started fighting for their rights.

Ukrainian troops have been engaged in fierce fighting with local militias during Kiev’s military operation, underway since mid-April 2014, against the breakaway territories — the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics constituting parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine. The clashes have killed thousands.

On September 19, 2014, the Trilateral Contact Group on settlement in east Ukraine comprising representatives of Russia, Ukraine and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) adopted a memorandum in Minsk to outline the parameters for the implementation of commitments on a ceasefire in Ukraine laid down in the 12-point Minsk Protocol of September 5, 2014.

The Contact Group’s meetings in December 2014 and January 2015 were nearly fruitless. The Group held regular talks in Minsk on February 10-12, 2015, signing a 13-point Package of Measures on implementation of the September 2014 Minsk agreements.

The Package of Measures (Minsk-2) included cessation of fire from February 15, 2015, withdrawal of heavy armaments, as well as measures on long-term political settlement in Ukraine, in particular establishment of working subgroups.

The subgroups focus on four areas: economic issues and restoration of facilities; refugees, internally displaced persons and humanitarian assistance; political issues; security issues.

The ceasefire has been repeatedly violated by Ukrainian troops.

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