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    A boy sits on a swing near a building, which was damaged during fighting between Kiev and Donbass forces, as an armoured personnel carrier (APC) of the Ukrainian armed forces is seen nearby in Avdeyevka near Donetsk. June 7, 2015.

    Ukrainian Parliament to Review Draft Law on 'Peaceful Reintegration' of Donbass

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    The Ukrainian parliament is set to review the draft bill on reintegration of the war-torn Donbass region into Ukraine, Iryna Herashchenko, the First Deputy Chairman of the Ukrainian unicameral parliament Verkhovna Rada, said on Monday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) will review the draft law on the reintegration of the Donbass region in near future, Herashchenko said.

    UKRAINE’S PROPOSAL

    On June 14, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said that he had ordered the drafting of a bill on the reintegration of the country's war-torn eastern regions.

    According to Poroshenko, the draft legislation envisions a number of measures to return Donbass under Kiev's control. The draft bill will also define the legal status of Ukrainian military’s actions in the region.

    Dmytro Tymchuk, a member of the Rada Committee on National Security and Defense, explained on Monday that the draft law proposes to replace the counterterrorist operation led by the Ukraine’s Security Forces with a troops operation led by an operational headquarters. According to the legislation, the president gets the right to decide on the use of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, as well as to draw other uniformed services, but under the general lead of the headquarters, the lawmaker added.

    The law also implies that the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine will continue its work and "continue to enjoy full control of all the things it must control today," chairman of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc’s fraction in the Verkhovna Rada Artur Herasymov said.

    The draft legislation recognizes the territories of both Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DPR, LPR) as occupied and to "reformat the counterterrorist operation, because the terms of de-occupation and counterterrorist operation are incompatible," Tymchuk said.

    ‘IN LINE’ WITH MINSK AGREEMENTS

    In February 2015, the leaders of the so-called Normandy Four group, comprising leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine, brokered a ceasefire agreement during a meeting in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, later signed by Kiev and the Donbass militias. Despite the peace accords, ceasefire violations remain ongoing.

    Kiev claims that the new legislation on the reintegration of Donbas does not disagree with the Minks agreements, stressing that it will, on the contrary, revive the Minsk process "by strengthening its most important part — the part regarding security issues," Tymchuk said.

    The Minsk accords imply holding elections in the Donbass republics, with Russia stating that the elections must be held alongside dealing with the security issues, and Kiev stressing that a vote will only be possible after a stable ceasefire regime and regaining control over the border with Russia.

    With the new law proclaiming the region as "occupied," the possibility of elections in Donbass is ruled out, because, according to the rules of the OSCE and the United Nations, no election could be held on occupied territories, Ukrainian authorities stated.

    "Approving this law is what ends the issue of the possibility of having any election [in the Donbass region] before de-occupation of the territory," Vice-Chairperson of the parliamentary faction of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc Oleksii Honcharenko said on Monday.

    REACTION OF DONBASS, MOSCOW

    According to plenipotentiary envoy of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) at the talks in Minsk, Denis Pushilin, the new legislation being developed by Kiev will not help settle the conflict in the region.

    "Ukrainian authorities’ plans to replace the so-called ‘counterterrorist operation’ in Donbass with a number of measures for its ‘reintegration’ are unlikely to lead to peace. Ukraine is already a signatory to agreements aimed at peaceful settlement of the conflict. However, in three years, not a single paragraph of the agreement was implemented," Pushilin told Sputnik.

    According to the envoy, if Kiev wants to settle the conflict with political measures, it must be done within the framework of the existing Minsk agreements.

    "If the Ukrainian party wants to cancel the ‘counterterrorist operation’ so much and to continue the ‘political and diplomatic efforts,’ as Petro Poroshenko said, they can and must do it within the framework of fulfilling the Minsk package of measures. Donbass does not accept any other variations," Pushilin stressed.

    Vladislav Deinego, the envoy of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) at the Minsk talks, expressed a similar opinion, stating that the Minsk agreements clearly state "what Ukraine must do."

    "It must either fulfill what it has signed, or renounce its commitments. Then we will look for other variants," Deinego said.

    As for Moscow’s reaction, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated that Ukraine’s plan should be considered for the purpose of its compliance with the Minsk peace agreements.

    "We should understand what this plan is about, which details it includes. You know that there are elements of the Donbass reintegration included in the Minsk agreements. It is necessary to understand to what extent it is taken into account in the document, which is being developed," Peskov told reporters.

    PERSPECTIVES OF THE DRAFT BILL

    According to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s representative in the Verkhovna Rada Iryna Lutsenko, the draft bill may be introduced to the Rada "in a week or two, before the end of the current session."

    The current session of the Verkhovna Rada ends on July 14.

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    Petro Poroshenko, Donbass, Ukraine
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