18 Jan 2018 17:22

Donbas bill negates drop in casualties, the main achievement of Minsk Agreements - DPR foreign ministry

DONETSK. Jan 18 (Interfax) - The Ukrainian bill on Donbas reintegration passed by the Verkhovna Rada on Thursday negates the Minsk process's achievements and violates numerous international legal norms, Natalya Nikonorova, acting foreign minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), said on Thursday.

"The passage by the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada of legislation 'on ensuring Ukraine's sovereignty' today not only goes directly against all documents from the Minsk Package but is also an attempt to undermine the very essence and basis of these agreements," Nikonorova said in an official statement circulated by the DPR's foreign ministry on Thursday.

She described the fact that the legislation officially allows the use of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in an internal conflict and provides a legal foundation for starting military actions against Donbas residents as the document's "cynical" and "outrageous" implications.

"This legislation negates the main result of the entire Minsk process: if not the absolute, then the significant reduction in the number of victims of military actions. This vividly demonstrates Kyiv's attitude toward the people of Donbas and shows yet again that they care not about people but about territories, which almost absolutely rules out the already slim chances for a common future for Donbas and Ukraine," she said.

"Ukrainian parliamentarians' step today yet again confirms the absolute unwillingness to settle the conflict in a peaceful way and openly demonstrates indifference both to the efforts that the leaders of the guarantor countries and international organizations are making to this end and to the norms of international law," Nikonorova said.

By adopting this bill, the Ukrainian parliament manifested open disregard for international law, she said.

The UN Security Council has acknowledged Kyiv and Donbas as the two parties to the conflict, and the Russian Federation as a mediator in settling this conflict, Nikonorova said. "Hence, the Verkhovna Rada set a precedent today, in that the Ukrainian parliament can qualify anyone it wishes as an aggressor, contrary to all norms of international law and common sense," she said.

The legislation also violates the Ukrainian Constitution, since it gives the president and the Ukrainian Armed Forces powers about which the constitution "does not say a word," she said.