17:12 GMT +316 October 2019
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    Ukrainian Parliament Ratifies EU Association Agreement, Passes Donbass Bill

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    Officials of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics treat the newly-adopted law as a legislative act of a neighboring state and will consider it, but not follow it. Meanwhile, Kiev’s mayor gets flak from Germany for seemingly asking for help with a massive wall. Ukraine votes ‘yes’ on Donbass special status, EU association.

    Officials of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics treat the newly-adopted law as a legislative act of a neighboring state and will consider it, but not follow it. Meanwhile, Kiev’s mayor gets flak from Germany for seemingly asking for help with a massive wall. Ukraine votes ‘yes’ on Donbass special status, EU association.

    Ukraine’s parliament, Verkhovna Rada, has adopted the law on the special status of Donbass, the country’s south-east region which endured a bloody conflict between the army and pro-independence militia.

    Izvestia reports that the Ukrainian deputies have voted for the bill which not only permits special treatment of certain areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions, but also prohibits criminal prosecution and punitive measures against those who took part in the ‘events’ in Donbass. At the same time, the newspaper highlights that officials of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics treat the newly-adopted law as a legislative act of a neighboring state and will consider it, but not follow it. The newspaper quotes Andrey Purgin, first deputy PM of the Donetsk People’s Republic – “It’s a point of contact for a dialog, but no more than that. For now we don’t have a fully crystallized opinion on this issue. We need to read the law and take it into consideration. However, we must remember that it’s Ukraine’s bill, adopted by the Verkhovna rada, but we have our own Supreme Council, which adopts own laws.” 

    Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada has voted for another important document on Tuesday, Kommersant writes. The Ukrainian parliament has ratified the association agreement with the European Union – according to the agreements reached by representatives of Ukraine, EU and Russia, the economic part of the agreement will come into force December 31, 2015. The daily notes that the results of the vote were clear long before; 355 deputies voted ‘yes’, with 226 being the minimum to pass the vote. The majority of European parliamentarians have also supported this decision. The newspaper reminds that signing of the Economic part of the association agreement happened in Brussels late June. It entails creation of a free trade zone, adoption of European technical regulations and far-reaching economic reforms. Kiev expects these steps to have a positive impact, while Russia is skeptical and have been looking into protecting the market from flooding of EU goods through Ukraine. At the time, Russia and Ukraine are expected to keep their free trade agreement within the framework of the CIS.

    Rossiyskaya Gazeta has an update on the proposal made by Ukrainian officials to erect a massive wall between Ukraine and Russia. The newspaper reminds that when Arseniy Yatsenyuk first voiced this idea, western politicians simply made a note of it; some shrugged it off, others thought it was too eccentric; but mostly politicians were indifferent. However, Vitali Klitschko decided to tentatively ask Germany for assistance with the project when visiting Berlin, which prompted a vocal reaction. The daily covers reports of German press, which are less than welcoming to the idea of a ‘new European wall.’ For example, largest German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung ironically notes that Klitschko, after trading his boxing gloves for Kiev mayor’s seat, should speak a different language, but has a hard time doing so. Overall, German reaction to the supposed request for assistance with the Ukrainian wall was sharply negative, as they still recall the Berlin wall and all the negative effects it had on the economy and people’s lives.

    The Guardian reports that US President Barack Obama called the Ebola epidemic in west Africa a potential threat to global security as the White House pledged to send 3,000 troops to fight the worst ever outbreak of the disease in history. The daily notes that While in Atlanta, Obama met with healthcare professionals from Emory University, where two American aid workers infected with the deadly disease were successfully treated and released last month after being given doses of an experimental drug. Another American infected with Ebola is receiving treatment at Emory while a fourth is receiving treatment at a Nebraska hospital, the article reminds. Overall, almost one billion dollars is needed to contain the Ebola epidemic raging across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, which could infect up to 20,000 people if unchecked by the end of the year, the UN warned, as the US pledged to send troops to help contain the world's biggest ever outbreak. More than 2,400 people have died from the virus, for which there is no approved cure in this outbreak.

    The Moscow Times writes that Russia's Western Military District said Tuesday that 25 military aircraft crews would be dispatched to the Arctic to participate in tactical exercises. The maneuvers are meant to rehearse the "protection of air borders, the interception of aerial targets and air strikes," and gauge the capabilities of air attack and air defense systems, according to comments by a military district spokesperson. The daily notes that the exercises will run through the end of the week. Meanwhile, more than 1,000 servicemen from the Baltic fleet took part in military drills in the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad on Tuesday. The newspaper reminds that last week, the Defense Ministry said the country had begun constructing new military bases in the Arctic. The announcement was followed by the arrival of the country's northern naval fleet in the region, where it conducted military drills.

    The Telegraph reports that America's top military officer admitted for the first time on Tuesday that US ground troops may need to return to Iraq to defeat the Islamic State. General Martin Dempsey said US troops could be embedded as advisors with Iraqi forces during missions to retake jihadist-occupied cities or to help guide American jets during complicated airstrikes. The newspaper highlights that his words raise the specter of so-called "mission creep", with US forces being dragged further into a foreign conflict, noting that this will likely alarm the American public, which is firmly opposed to ground troops returning to the Middle East. At the same time, the statements also appear to contradict President Barack Obama's definitive promise to a war-weary country that the campaign against Isil "will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil", the newspaper reminds. The White House appeared to signal it would ignore any recommendation from General Dempsey to deploy ground troops to Iraq. The article reports that Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, said this was a "hypothetical scenario" and that Obama would take the final decision on any deployment.

    Tags:
    EU Association Agreement, EU association, ceasefire, political crisis, European Union
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