12:27 GMT15 July 2020
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    Earlier in the day, Ukraine's parliament adopted on the status of Donbass. President Poroshenko has commented on Kiev's move.

    KIEV (Sputnik) — Ukraine’s new draft law on reintegration of Donbass, which suggests a possibility of introducing martial law and allows the president to use the country’s military in the region, will strengthen Kiev's positions on the release of prisoners and deployment of UN peacekeepers in the region, President Petro Poroshenko said Friday.

    “The law will strengthen our position in the fight for the release of hostages and in the issue of possible deployment of UN peacekeepers in Donbass. Russia, as an aggressor country, will have no right to participate in this mission, which should be deployed throughout the occupied territory, including the temporarily uncontrolled section of the Ukrainian-Russian border,” the statement read.

    Earlier in the day, Ukraine's parliament adopted the bill in first reading. Upon an initiative of the majority of the parliamentary parties the draft law was adopted with amendments excluding any mention of the Minsk peace accords.

    Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, as well as Russian envoy to the Contact Group on Ukraine Boris Gryzlov said that the bill contradicted the Minsk agreements and blocked the peace process. Denis Pushilin, the plenipotentiary envoy of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) at the talks in Minsk, also condemned the draft law as blocking the negotiations process.

    In early September, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his support for the idea of sending peacekeepers to Ukraine in order to ensure the security of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) observer mission in Donbass. Putin also said that the issue should be decided in direct contact with representatives of the self-proclaimed Lugansk and Donetsk republics. However, Moscow insists that the peacekeepers should be deployed solely along the contact line.

    In 2014, within the framework of the Minsk peace accords, Ukraine pledged to provide certain areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions with a special status. The law was adopted, but not enforced. According to the law, certain areas of Donbass currently uncontrolled by Kiev would only get special status after local elections held under Ukrainian legislation and under control of international observers. Such elections were not held, therefore the special status did not come into effect. The law, adopted for a three-year period, was due to expire on October 18.

    Kiev has been reluctant to implement a number of Minsk deal provisions. Russia has repeatedly said that it is not a party to Ukraine's internal conflict and called on the West to influence Kiev in order to ensure Minsk agreements' implementation.


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