Rada passes so-called Donbas reintegration bill

12:11, 18 January 2018
Politics
1331
Updated

The Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, has passed draft law No. 7163 on special aspects of state policy to ensure Ukraine's state sovereignty in temporarily occupied areas in Donetsk and Luhansk regions (the so-called Donbas reintegration bill).

REUTERS

The document was backed by 280 lawmakers, according to an UNIAN correspondent.

In particular, 123 Members of Parliament from the Petro Poroshenko Bloc parliamentary faction, 76 from the People's Front, 17 from Oleh Liashko's Radical Party, 22 from Samopomich and 15 from Batkivshchyna voted for the draft law. However, the Opposition Bloc parliamentary faction did not take part in the voting.

"We will continue to pave the way for the reintegration of the occupied Ukrainian territory, using political and diplomatic means," Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko tweeted, commenting on the adoption of the bill on January 18.

"This is a key message of the [draft] law passed by the Verkhovna Rada on my initiative. This is a signal both for Donbas and Crimea: you are an integral part of Ukraine," he added.

Read alsoReintegration for the sake of itThe bill says that Russia's armed aggression began with the undeclared and covert invasion of Ukraine by units of the armed forces and other law enforcement agencies of the Russian Federation, as well as with masterminding and supporting terrorist activities.

The draft law does not mention the date when the occupation began, but it refers to the earlier adopted law where February 20, 2014, is determined as such date.

Parts of Ukrainian territory where armed formations of the Russian Federation and the administration of the Russian occupation have established and exercise general effective control have been designated as temporarily occupied areas in Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The draft law says that the boundaries and a list of districts, cities, towns and villages, parts of their territory temporarily occupied in Donetsk and Luhansk regions shall be determined by the President of Ukraine as advised by the Ukrainian Defense Ministry and proposed by the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

The draft law says that activities of the armed formations of the Russian Federation and the administration of the Russian occupation in Donetsk and Luhansk regions are considered to be those that contradict international humanitarian law and are illegal, and any act issued in relation to such activity is invalid.

The draft law states that Russia shall be held liable for moral, financial or physical damage inflicted on the State of Ukraine, government authorities and local self-government agencies, individuals and legal entities.

According to the law, persons participating in the armed aggression of the Russian Federation or being involved in the administration of the Russian occupation shall be held liable for acts that violate the laws of Ukraine and international humanitarian law.

The draft law says that Ukraine shall not be responsible for illegal actions and decisions by the Russian Federation in the temporarily occupied areas in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Under the document, the fact of the final withdrawal and complete absence of all the armed formations of the Russian Federation in Donetsk and Luhansk regions shall be established by the Minister of Defense of Ukraine and the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine through submitting a joint report to the President of Ukraine, who shall make a relevant decision exclusively on this basis.

According to the draft law, the launch and completion of measures to ensure national security and defense, repel and deter Russia's armed aggression in Donetsk and Luhansk regions shall be enacted by separate decisions by the President of Ukraine.

According to the document, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine shall be in charge of strategic management of the forces and assets of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, other military formations, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, the National Police of Ukraine, the central executive agency pursuing state civil protection policy, which are involved in the implementation of measures to ensure national security and defense, counter and deter the armed aggression of the Russian Federation in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

The commander of the joint forces, who shall be appointed by the President of Ukraine as advised by the Chief of the General Staff and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine shall be in charge of the command of the forces and assets of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, other military formations, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, the National Police of Ukraine, the central executive agency pursuing state civil protection policy, which are involved in the implementation of measures to ensure national security and defense, counter and deter the armed aggression of the Russian Federation in Donetsk and Luhansk regions

According to the draft law, the commander of the joint forces shall exercise his powers through the Joint Operation Headquarters of the Armed Forces. The authority of the commander of the joint forces and the provisions regulating the work of the Joint Operation Headquarters shall be determined and approved by the President of Ukraine.

Servicemen, law enforcement officers and other persons involved in measures to ensure national security and defense, repel and deter the armed aggression of the Russian Federation in Donetsk and Luhansk regions shall be subordinate to the commander of the joint forces for the period of such events. Decisions to be taken by the commander are binding.

The draft law specifies that individuals should leave and enter the temporarily occupied areas in Donetsk and Luhansk regions through entry/exit checkpoints. Movement of goods should also proceed via the checkpoints. Procedures for the entry/exit of individuals and movement of goods from/to the temporarily occupied areas in Donetsk and Luhansk regions shall be determined by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.

The final and transitional provisions of the bill stipulate that it shall enter into force on the day following the day of its publication.

It was originally proposed that the Law of Ukraine "On the Creation of the 'Crimea' Free Economic Area and on the Specifics of Implementing Economic Activity in the Temporarily Occupied Territory of Ukraine" be recognized void. Yet, a respective amendment was voted down, therefore this law remains in force. At the same time, the government was instructed to decide on matters related to economic and financial issues faced by internally displaced persons from Crimea.

Lawmakers also introduced amendments to Article 18 of the Law of Ukraine "On Combating Terrorism," which provide that an anti-terrorist operation (ATO) may be considered over after the introduction of martial law, the announcement of the state of emergency, or the commencement of measures to ensure national security and defense, counter and deter the armed aggression of the Russian Federation in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, stipulated in the Law of Ukraine on special aspects of state policy to ensure Ukraine's state sovereignty in temporarily occupied areas in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

The No. 7163 bill passed its first reading on October 6, 2017. The parliament started to consider it in its second reading on January 16, 2018. Lawmakers reviewed 673 amendments to the bill.

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