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Ukrainian politician warns Donbass reintegration law aims to derail Minsk deal

On October 6, the Ukrainian parliament put a stamp of approval on the first reading of a bill to reintegrate Donbass

KIEV, November 23. /TASS/. Ukrainian Choice activist organization leader Viktor Medvedchuk believes the law on reintegration of Donbass will spell curtains for the Minsk agreements and won’t help settle the situation in the region.

"I believe this law is aimed against a peaceful settlement in Donbass... This law spells curtains for the Minsk accords, for reintegration and does everything to prevent Donbass from returning into Ukraine, and Ukraine returning to Donbass," said Medvedchuk, Kiev’s envoy to the humanitarian subgroup in the Contact Group for the settlement in Ukraine.

In order to not let this happen, it is necessary "to provide security guarantees [to the residents of Donbass], to protect them instead of abandoning them." "Today we are dragging our feet all by ourselves towards a peaceful settlement. And it will be getting increasingly difficult to do this from year to year," he stated.

The Ukrainian Choice leader acknowledged that some people in Ukraine nowadays don’t want the return of Donbass. "This sort of mood does exist, but this is a hostile stance towards Ukraine," Medvedchuk added. "We must make every effort to restore territorial integrity," he said.

According to Medvedchuk, Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has enough political will for this, "but unfortunately there is no political resource at the moment".

"The political elite represented in the parliament, political forces outside the parliament, radical nationalists, ‘the party of war’ - they are doing everything possible to sabotage the president’s political resolve," Medvedchuk added.

He also noted that speculating about early elections to the parliament at the moment would mean "wishing the country ill."

On October 6, the Ukrainian parliament put a stamp of approval on the first reading of a bill to reintegrate Donbass. The bill, initiated by Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko, refers to the specified eastern regions as "temporarily occupied territories" and defines Russia’s actions as "aggression against Ukraine." The bill provides for setting up joint operation headquarters of the Ukrainian armed forces to control all military units and military-civil administration in the conflict zone and gives the president the right to use the armed forces inside the country without the parliament’s consent.

On the same day, the Verkhovna Rada passed a law extending Donbass’ special status for one more year. The second reading is expected in December.