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Ukraine’s parliament-appointed acting president says language law to stay effective

SIMFEROPOL, March 01. /ITAR-TASS/. Ukraine’s parliament-appointed acting president, Aleksandr Turchinov, has promised that he will not enact the parliament’s decision to cancel the law on languages, Turchinov’s representative in the Crimea, Sergei Kunitsin, said on the ATR television channel.

“Turchinov has been persuaded to veto the law on languages,” Kunitsin said, adding that a different bill would be proposed instead.

On February 27, Turchinov ordered creating a working group to urgently draft a new law on language. He said the law would accommodate the interests of both eastern and western Ukraine and of all ethnic groups and minorities.

Earlier, the European parliament demanded the Ukrainian authorities should protect the opportunity for people to use the Russian language. Its members urged the Ukrainian parliament to observe the rights of minorities and to ensure the freedom to use Russian and other minority languages.

Ukraine’s new legislation must be adopted in accordance with the country’s liability to the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, the resolution said.

The Ukrainian parliament on February 23 declared the law on the basic principles of the government’s language policy void. The resolution was approved by a 232-majority vote against the required minimum of 226. The law had been in effect since August 10, 2012. Under the document the Russian was awarded the status of a regional one there where it is the mother tongue of at least 10 percent of the population. According to government sources, Russian received that status in 13 of the country’s 27 regions.