Ukraine grants special status of Donetsk and Luhansk regions

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko introduced the bill to the Verkhovna Rada to provide for a special procedure of self-governance in certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine.

The bill stipulates for local elections in the regions. Extraordinary local elections will take place, in accordance with the document, on November 9, 2014.

In addition, Ukraine guarantees the right to use the Russian or any other language "in public and private life." The state also guarantees "the prevention of criminal prosecution, involvement in criminal, administrative prosecution and punishment of the individuals, who took part in the events in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions."

Prime Minister of the People's Republic of Donetsk Alexander Zakharchenko  hopes that the implementation of the law on the special status of Donbass can lead to independence for the People's Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk.

"If, with the adoption of the law by the Verkhovna Rada, the deputies voted for our independence, one can only welcome that," Zakharchenko said, Interfax reports.

The Verkhovna Rada, at a closed session, adopted the presidential law on the introduction of a special procedure of self-governance in certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions for a period of three years.

Also, on September 16, deputies of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine unanimously ratified the text of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union. As many as 355 MPs voted for the decision. There was no one, who either voted against or abstained.

The same day, the document was ratified by the European Parliament as well. As many as 535 out of 697 deputies supported the document; 127 MPs voted against it.

The ratification of the document, in fact, was a mere formality, as the economic part of the agreement is not going to come into force in the near future. Last week in Brussels, Russia, Ukraine and the EU agreed to postpone the establishment of a free trade zone between Ukraine and the European Union to preserve the free trade regime within the scope of the CIS up to December 31, 2015. For this period, several types of Ukrainian goods will still enjoy duty-free access to the European market, while European exports to Ukraine will be subject to duties, as before, ITAR-TASS reports.

According to the European Commissioner for Trade, Karel De Gucht, before the end of 2015, so-called temporary trade preferences on a very limited range of products will be preserved for Ukraine. They were introduced in March, and were supposed to be lifted in October of this year. However, given the new circumstances, the EU will have to formally extend the measures and expand the list of goods. Moscow, Brussels and Kiev will continue discussing the practical implementation of the Ukrainian Association Agreement.

The signing of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU was divided into two stages. The political part of the document was signed on 21 March of this year. The economic one - after the presidential elections in Ukraine on June 27. The document will become fully effective after it passes ratification by the parliaments all 28 EU member states.


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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov