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Ukraine’s Donbass reintegration law shows Kiev set to to resolve conflict by force — DPR

Earlier on Tuesday, Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko signed it into law

DONETSK, February 20. /TASS/. The so-called Donbass reintegration law that was signed on Tuesday by Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko gives away Kiev’s plans to resolve the conflict by force and invalidate the peace settlement plan for Donbass, acting Foreign Minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Natalia Nikonorova said on Tuesday.

"The signing of the reintegration law by the Ukrainian president proves that the Kiev authorities stick to a military way to resolve the conflict in Donbass. This normative act is nothing but an attempt at legally justifying the use of the armed forces against people in Donbass in the past and unleashing large-scale combat operations in future," the Donetsk News Agency quoted her as saying.

According to Nikonorova, the law legalizes violence and "reduces to zero possibilities for the implementation of the plan of peace settlement of the conflict as it openly bans implementation of certain political provisions" of the Minsk agreements.

Earlier on Tuesday, Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko signed into law the bill "On the special aspects of state policy aimed at ensuring Ukraine’s state sovereignty over the temporarily occupied areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk Regions" (on Donbass reintegration).

The law enters into force on the day of its publication.

The law, initiated by President 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 the joint operation headquarters of the Ukrainian armed forces to control all military units and military-civil administrations in the conflict zone 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 were removed from the document.

Minsk agreements

Peace settlement of the conflict in Donbass rests on the Package of Measures, known as Minsk-2, that was signed by the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine comprising senior representatives from Russia, Ukraine and the European security watchdog OSCE on February 12, 2015, after marathon 16-hour talks between the leaders of the Normandy Four nations, namely Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine. The 13-point document envisages a ceasefire between Ukrainian government forces and people’s militias in the self-proclaimed republics in Donetsk and Lugansk starting and subsequent withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of engagement. The deal also lays out a roadmap for a lasting settlement in Ukraine, including local elections and a constitutional reform to give more autonomy to the war-torn eastern regions.

These agreements that were initially planned to be implemented by the end of 2015 have not been fulfilled until now. The Ukrainian side has been dodging implementation of the package’s political provisions citing security problems as a reason. Ukraine has failed to carry out a constitutional reform, to enforce a law on the region’s special status and to pass a law on elections in Donbass. Instead, it insists on regaining control over the border with Russia, which is to take place only after the elections, as is envisaged by the Minsk agreements. Moreover, the Ukrainian side is continuing economic blockade of Donbass. In the recent months, Kiev has been pushing the idea of deployment a United Nations armed mission in Donbass, obviously, in a bid to find a pretext to waive its liabilities under the Minsk agreements.