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Self-proclaimed Donbass republics to demand special status at upcoming Minsk talks

August 23, 5:38 UTC+3 MOSCOW

"This issue is becoming key for progress in implementing the Minsk agreements," LPR envoy Rodion Miroshnik said

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MOSCOW, August 22. /TASS/. Envoys of the self-proclaimed eastern Ukrainian republics of Donetsk and Lugansk (DPR and LPR) are set to demand a special status during Wednesday’s meeting of the Contact Group on Ukrainian reconciliation in Minsk, an LPR envoy has told TASS.

"This issue is becoming key for progress in implementing the Minsk agreements and will be discussed by the political working group at the Minsk talks on August 23," an LPR envoy to the talks, Rodion Miroshnik, said, adding that "slightly more than 50 days remain before the law on special status of Donbass formally expires."

"The deadline must be reviewed, just like some of the bill’s provisions. Eight of the bill’s ten articles were blocked by a decision of the Supreme Rada of Ukraine (parliament - TASS), passed in breach of the Minsk accords a month later after the Package of Measures was adopted," he said.

According to the envoy, the special status for the self-proclaimed territories was never questioned by the leaders of the Normandy Four group of nations (Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine), including Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko.

In October 2014, Poroshenko signed a bill vesting separate areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk region with a special administrative status for three years. However, the law has never been put into practice as in March 2015 Poroshenko introduced amendments which de-facto blocked it. The move was in breach of the Minsk agreements, because they were introduced without being agreed with representatives of Donetsk and Lugansk.

In early 2016, in a bid to tap a way out of the situation, Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has made a proposal for a special pattern of effectuation of the law. Under this pattern, the special status will be given to the region first on a provisional basis on the Election Day there. It will turn into a permanent one after the OSCE publishes a report that contains confirmation of legitimacy of the voting.

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