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Poroshenko: Security in Donbass comes before constitutional reform

June 21, 2016, 16:00 UTC+3 KIEV

Kiev will introduce amendments to the country’s Constitution only after the ceasefire regime is enforced in Donbass

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Pyotr Poroshenko

Pyotr Poroshenko

© Mikhail Palinchak/Ukrainian presidential press service/TASS

KIEV, June 21. /TASS/. Ukraine will introduce amendments to the country’s Constitution only after the ceasefire regime is enforced in Donbass, Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko said on Tuesday in an interview with the French TV channel I-Tele.

"In my opinion, everything is very obvious and is based on the logic of the Minsk agreements, that is, comprises several parts. The first priority is security. This means that we must have a real ceasefire regime. Unfortunately, the situation on the ground is not like this," the president said, answering the question why amendments to the Constitution are not introduced.

Poroshenko says that Kiev has fulfilled its part of the Minsk agreements. "Ukraine has withdrawn part of its weapons and cooperates with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, which has repeatedly stressed that Kiev is fulfilling its obligations", he said, again accusing Russia of supporting the militias (of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics - DPR and LPR).

The president reiterated his demand to "withdraw Russian troops" from the territory of Ukraine and give the OSCE mission "access to the non-controlled part of the Ukrainian-Russian border." "And only after these preconditions are met, we can proceed to the work on organizing the elections. It’s another matter that these elections should be free, democratic and fair, but given the current situation, it seems impossible," Poroshenko said.

The Donbass conflict peaceful settlement is based on the Minsk agreements, which provide not only for a ceasefire, withdrawal of weapons, granting amnesty, the resumption of economic ties, but also for a deep constitutional reform in Ukraine that should result in the decentralization of power in the country with taking into account the special status of certain districts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

However, this plan remains unfulfilled so far, as the parties to the conflict have been systematically violating the ceasefire regime. The Ukrainian side has refused outright to fulfil the agreements’ amnesty clause and continues the economic blockade of Donbass. Not a single point of the political settlement process has been fulfilled: no constitutional reform has been carried out, the law on the special status of the region has not been put into effect, the law on elections in the Donbass region has not been adopted. Instead, the Ukrainian side, referring to security considerations, insists that the section of the border with Russia should be transferred to its control, although this should happen, according to the Minsk agreements, only after the elections.


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