By signing the law on Donbass reintegration, Petro Poroshenko finally confirmed Kiev's intention to solve the conflict in the region by force, the Russian Foreign Ministry has said.
"On February 24, 2018, a scandalous law on the so-called "reintegration of Donbass" came into force. Thus, in Kiev, they finally confirmed their commitment to a military solution of the conflict in the South-East of Ukraine. By signing the law, Petro Poroshenko actually crossed out the Minsk agreements," its statement reads.
According to the ministry, the law shows that Kiev is not seeking direct dialogue with the authorities in Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics (DPR and LPR).
"The law sets up the conditions for the forcible occupation of the territories of Donetsk and Lugansk regions that are not controlled by Kiev, legalizes the deployment of the Ukrainian Armed Forces against civilians," the statement said.
The Russian Foreign Ministry expressed hope that Kiev's Western "patrons" would be able to persuade Kiev to avoid the implementation of the plan that could destruct "Ukrainian statehood" and might have unpredictable consequences for the stability and security in Europe.
Despite the 2015 ceasefire deal signed between the conflicting parties in Minsk brokered by the leaders of Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine, the so-called Normandy Format, the situation in the region remains tense.
Donbass Reintegration Law
On January 18, Ukraine's legislature, the Verkhovna Rada, voted to approve a second draft of the bill "On the peculiarities of the state policy on ensuring Ukraine's state sovereignty over the temporarily occupied territories in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions." Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed it into law on February 20.
The law labels Russia as an aggressor state, and refers to areas within the Donetsk and Lugansk regions that are not controlled by Kiev as temporarily occupied territories. The president is given the right to use the armed forces inside the country without the consent of parliament, including for the recapture of territories in the east of the country. For this purpose, a joint operational headquarters of the Armed Forces of Ukraine is being created to control all armed forces and military-civilian administrations in the conflict zone. In the final version of the approved law, all references to the Minsk Agreements were removed from the text of the document.