Ukraine extended the law on the special status of Donbass

Ukraine’s Parliament Voted for Law on Special Status of Donbas

The law adopted by the Verkhovna Rada provides conditions for holding elections in the uncontrolled territories of the east of the country

KIEV – The Verkhovna Rada has prolonged the law on a special procedure for local self-government in certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions for a year. According to the website of the Ukrainian parliament, on December 15, 304 People’s Deputies of Ukraine voted for this decision, 27 voted against, abstained – six 450-seat unicameral parliament.

«The law in Article 1 of the Law of Ukraine On the Special Procedure for Local Self-Government in Certain Districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Regions figures «2020» replaced by numbers "2021"», – it is noted on the website of the parliament about the amendments that have been extended by a year to the effect of the law, which was called in the press – law «about special status» Donbass.

In the explanatory note to amendments to the law «about special status» noted that its adoption «will contribute to the peaceful settlement of the situation in certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions on the basis of the principles and norms of international law and the UN Charter».

Law «about special status», as highlighted in the Explanatory Note, «aims to create additional temporary opportunities for the implementation of the relevant legislative conditions» to bring peace to Donbass.

The law itself On the Special Procedure for Local Self-Government in Certain Districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Regions, as amended in 2014, defines the procedure, guarantees and rights in the process of de-occupation of uncontrolled territories with the possibility of holding local elections there.

Fourth article of the law «about special status», in accordance with the law of Ukraine “On the foundations of the state language policy”, says on the website of the Verkhovna Rada, guarantees the choice of the language of communication for residents of certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, «free use of Russian and any other language in public and private life».

Reaction in certain areas of Donbass

Project «Radio Liberty» Donbass.Realii notes on December 15 that Russian propaganda in Donetsk and Lugansk criticizes the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine for extending the law without changes. After all, for Russia, in fact, «empty».

«In the occupied territory of Donbass, they repeat that Ukraine should implement the Steinmeier formula into the law, that is, grant a special status on election day without transferring the border under control», – underlined in the note "Why extended again «special status of Donbass?"»

Grouping «LPR» on the eve of the voting, the Verkhovna Rada announced the sabotage of Ukraine and immediately announced that «do not expect significant results from the next meeting of the subgroup». This is probably about the next meeting of the TCG and its subgroups, where, among other things, the exchange of detainees should be discussed, Donbass notes..

Recall that on February 15, during a discussion on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy said about the goals of ending the war in Donbass.

He expressed the hope that during «in these five years we can end the war».

Volodymyr Zelenskyy, during the broadcast of his dialogue on the Facebook page of the President‘s office, stressed that «Russia should want – give us our land».

About diplomatic steps and arguments

Fund Political Analyst «Democratic initiatives» Maria Zolkina notes that the prolongation of this law once a year – this is an exclusively diplomatic step.

«It is needed so that during negotiations the Ukrainian side can refer to this argument. – Kiev, for its part, prepared the basis for the political integration of the region. But, of course, it has no real practical value, because the application of this law is possible only if elections are held there in accordance with Ukrainian law and OSCE standards.», – says Maria Zolkina to the correspondent of the Russian Service «Voices of America».

Until there are any agreements with Russia – symmetrical steps to resolve the situation in Donbass, there is no point in making any changes to this law, she said.

«For example, it makes no sense to incorporate the Steinmeier formula into it, because it will simply be prolonged in its pure form without any special changes.», – emphasizes Maria Zolkina.

Ukraine extended the law on the special status of Donbass

According to Maria Zolkina, at the moment there is no real movement in the negotiation process on the Donbass problem and all processes – in the humanitarian group, the security group of the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) are blocked by Russia.

«The list of requirements in the Minsk TCG put forward by Russia has not diminished and remains the same as it was after 2015, and the Ukrainian side, even with the enthusiasm that appeared in 2019, cannot make these broad compromises», – emphasizes Maria Zolkina.

Law with «preserved» constituents

Political scientist and analyst at the International Information and Analytical Center «Development of Ukraine» Alexandra Reshmedilova believes that the adoption of the law «about special status» allows Kiev to remain in the negotiation process.

«Earlier this year, it was announced that we will see some new developments of the new government, their vision of the obligations that Zelensky took on himself. Something that could be adapted from the Paris communiqué – including the Steinmeier formula», – says Alexandra Reshmedilova to the correspondent of the Russian Service «Voices of America».

She notes that in the corridors of the Ukrainian government they confirm the legal and diplomatic way of resolving the armed conflict in Donbass, which is based on the Minsk agreements..

«There is also an opinion that the Minsk Agreements need some kind of update, but the negotiations in the Trilateral Contact Group have not particularly shown their effectiveness, is an update possible in such a situation? The Ukrainian side does not particularly intend to fulfill the sequence of agreements that were signed in Minsk, are the other parties ready for this??» – emphasizes Alexandra Reshmedilova.

At the same time, she notes that the current year in the Minsk process in official Kiev is called positive, pointing to the unfreezing of negotiations in the Normandy format, a decrease in the amount of fire on the contact line in Donbass, the desire of the parties to exchange detainees..

«Negotiations are progressing extremely slowly and it is unclear how much more effective 2021 will be, but hope remains», – believes Alexandra Reshmedilova.