Ukrainian parliament votes to extend Donbas "special status" law

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-06 20:58:18|Editor: Zhou Xin
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KIEV, Oct. 6 (Xinhua) -- The Ukrainian parliament on Friday amended the law on a "special status" to the conflict-hit eastern region of Donbas, extending its term of validity for one year.

According to the statement on the parliament's website, the bill amending the law was supported by 229 votes in favor with the 226 minimum required.

The new legislation means that the Ukrainian authorities may offer a limited self-rule to Donbas for 12 months if certain conditions put forward by Kiev are performed.

The withdrawal of "illegal armed formations, their military equipment, as well as militants and mercenaries" from the territory of Ukraine is the key precondition for granting the "special status" to certain areas in Donbas, according to the law.

The bill is a part of the legislative acts, submitted to the parliament by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, that are aimed at returning Donbas under Kiev's sovereignty through peaceful means.

The Ukrainian parliament approved the law on the "special status" to some areas in Lugansk and Donetsk regions in September 2014 as a concession to rebels, who sought independence from Kiev.

In March 2015, the parliament passed the amendments to the legislation, saying that the region would acquire the "special status" only after holding local elections in accordance with the Ukrainian law and under international observation.

The law on the "special status" increases the authority of local communities by transferring more economic, financial and administrative powers to the regional governments. The legislation with a validity term of three years was due to expire on Oct.18.

In April 2014, the Ukrainian government started a military operation against armed groups, who seized cities and towns in Donbas region and declared independence from Kiev. The confrontation has snowballed into the violent conflict, which has killed more than 10,000 people and leaving about 24,000 injured.