MOSCOW, September 17 (RIA Novosti) – The Ukrainian bill granting the breakaway eastern republics of Donetsk and Luhansk a three-year period of special status within the country will not change Donetsk People's Republic's (DPR) political and independence aspirations, Andrei Purgin, DPR first deputy prime minister, said Wednesday.
"There are thousands of dead who were fighting for the rights of Russian-speaking citizens, for the right to be part of the Russian world, for the right to be Russian," Purgin told the BBC.
According to the DPR first deputy prime minister, the self-rule law was "an invitation to the negotiation table" with Ukrainian authorities.
"The first positive thing is that we are no longer described as terrorists. Secondly, according to this law we have the right to foreign and political economic relationships," Purgin said in an interview with the broadcaster.
The status of Ukraine's eastern regions remains a stumbling block to settlement of the country's crisis. Donetsk and Luhansk leaders have laid claim to the whole territory within the borders of the respective administrative entities in Ukraine and want full independence.
On Tuesday, the Ukrainian parliament approved a bill granting special status to the self-proclaimed Luhansk and Donetsk people's republics for the next three years. The law gives the Ukrainian Cabinet and other central executive bodies the power to sign agreements with local administrative bodies on social, economic, cultural and other issues. The bill states that local elections are to take place in the regions on December 7. The bill also guarantees the right to use and study Russian or any other language in Ukraine.