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Ukraine expresses unilateral position designating Russia as aggressor — expert

The document claims the areas not controlled by Kiev to be "temporarily occupied" and gives the president the right to use the armed forces inside the country without the parliament's consent

KIEV, January 18. /TASS/. Ukraine has expressed its unilateral position designating Russia as an aggressor in the Donbass reintegration law, adopted by the Verkhovna Rada (parliament) on Thursday, Head of the Ukrainian Institute for Analysis and Political Management Ruslan Bortnik told TASS.

"From the legal standpoint, the Rada’s designation of Russia as an aggressor will do nothing on the international level, particularly as far as the United Nations Security Council is concerned, because it is Ukraine’s unilateral position," he said.

At the same time, the expert said that including such a term in the law "is a political tool they mean to use to continue bargaining with Russia." However, "this is Ukraine’s internal decision, which cannot influence international relations, while the Donbass conflict has become part of those," Bortnik stressed, adding that the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements "is a UN Security Council’s decision."

On January 18, the Verkhovna Rada passed a bill dubbed "On aspects of state policy aimed at ensuring Ukraine’s state sovereignty over temporarily occupied areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions," which had been submitted by the country’s President Pyotr Poroshenko and is known as the Donbass reintegration bill. The document claims the areas not controlled by Kiev to be "temporarily occupied" and gives the president the right to use the armed forces inside the country without the parliament's consent. It also provides for setting up joint operation headquarters of the Ukrainian armed forces to control all military units and military-civil administrations in the conflict zone. In addition, all references to the Minsk Agreements have been removed from the document.