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Ukrainian lawmakers play 'piece' for Nuland — expert

July 16, 2015, 19:33 UTC+3 KIEV
The director of the Ukrainian Institute of Policy Analysis and Management called "a piece — a farce or a tragedy" today’s vote in the Ukrainian Rada attended by the US State Department representative
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US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland (left) and Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk (right)

US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland (left) and Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk (right)

© AP Photo/Andrew Kravchenko, Pool

KIEV, July 16. /TASS/. Voting in the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine’s parliament) during the sending of amendments to the country’s constitution in regard to decentralization to the Constitutional Court was a performance for US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland, Ruslan Bortnik, the director of the Ukrainian Institute of Policy Analysis and Management, said Thursday.

"A piece — a farce or a tragedy, it’s unclear yet — for Nuland," Bortnik said, speaking about today’s vote in the Rada attended by the State Department representative.

The expert said the "piece" was in four acts. "The first act was a fierce discussion around ‘the status’ of Donbas that the draft Constitution does not mention at all — only a special procedure of local self-rule defined by the law that will become valid only after new elections in Donetsk and Luhansk," the political scientist said.

The second act, he said, was "difficult political bargaining and fuss in front of ‘high’ eyes around the vote for constitutional amendments, although it was clear that there were more than enough votes."

Bortnik said the Rada was shifting responsibility for making amendments to the Constitution onto the Constitutional Court. He called "courageous speeches and votes for decentralization, which is nonexistent, and for the letter rather than the draft law to the Constitutional Court" culmination of the ‘piece’.

The fourth act, he said, was played "to a loud bravo of Western partners and touching tears of deputies." At that, he said, "the war continues, there is no political solution yet and it is not expected soon."

On Thursday, the Rada sent to the Constitutional Court draft amendments on decentralization to the country’s fundamental law. A total of 288 deputies with 226 required voted for the relevant decision.

The vote was preceded by emotional statements of President Petro Poroshenko, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, representatives of the coalition. In particular, besides statements in support or against the discussed issue, verses were read and Ukraine’s anthem was performed twice. After the vote, there was a small scuffle between deputies.

Situation in Ukraine

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

In response, Kiev in April 2014 announced the start of "an antiterrorism operation" in east Ukraine, which involved the Armed Forces, the Interior Ministry’s National Guard and volunteer battalions made up of Euromaidan activists, many of whom hold far-right and neo-Nazi views.

Ukrainian troops have been engaged in fierce fighting with local militias during Kiev’s punitive 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.

Massive shelling of residential neighborhoods, including with the use of aviation, has killed thousands and led to a humanitarian disaster in the area.

Kiev has regularly violated the ceasefire regime imposed as part of the Package of Measures on implementation of the September 2014 Minsk agreements.

The Package (Minsk-2) was signed on February 12, 2015 in the Belarusian capital Minsk by participants of the Contact Group on settlement in Donbas. In line with the document, cannon artillery with calibers of 100 millimeters and more was to be withdrawn from the disengagement line to a distance of 50 kilometers.

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