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East Ukraine Leader Zakharchenko: Kiev's Decentralization Reform Is a Farce

Minsk II Agreement specifies that decentralization scheme would be drawn up in coordination with representatives of east Ukraine - not thought up and voted in unilaterally by Kiev


This article originally appeared at Novorossia Today

The constitutional reform being conducted in Ukraine is not in the slightest conformity with the Minsk Agreements, the head of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), Alexander Zakharchenko, said Wednesday.

“As of today, no point of the Minsk Agreements has been fully implemented by Kiev: military hardware has not been withdrawn from the disengagement line, moreover, its number has been increased, while the law on amnesty has not been adopted by the Verkhovna Rada,” Zakharchenko said.

“As regards the constitutional reform in the sphere of decentralization – it can’t be called other than a farce. That law, which has already led to the death of people in front of the Verkhovna Rada, not only is out of line with the Minsk Agreements, but directly contradicts them. ”

Zakharchenko stressed once again that in line with Minsk-2, Kiev should agree with Donbas on the changes to the country’s fundamental law. “But Kiev has made no steps forward and has issued  openly provocative statements,” he said.

The DPR leader said that the latest statements by Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko at a meeting with Ambassador Martin Sajdik, the Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine and in the Trilateral Contact Group on the implementation of the peace plan in Donbas, “unambiguously show once again that Kiev has not listened, is not listening and, it seems, is not going to listen to the voice of Donbas.”

The Ukrainian presidential press service reported earlier Wednesday that Poroshenko held talks with Sajdik at which he claimed “full implementation by the Ukrainian side of its political commitments on the Minsk Agreements of February 12, 2015”.

This week, the Verkhovna Rada approved amendments in a first reading to the Ukrainian Constitution regarding decentralization.

The DPR and the Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) say the amendments do not comply with requirements of the February 12 Package of Measures on implementation of the Minsk Agreements, as the document points to the necessity to coordinate with representatives of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions the constitutional reform regarding decentralization.

The DPR and LPR also insist on transferring the mention of Donbas’s special status from transitional provisions of the Constitution to the main text.

Excerpt from the 13-point text of the Minsk-2 ceasefire agreement of Feb. 12, 2015:

11. Constitutional reform in Ukraine, with a new constitution to come into effect by the end of 2015, the key element of which is decentralisation (taking into account peculiarities of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, agreed with representatives of these districts), and also approval of permanent legislation on the special status of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts in accordance with the measures spelt out in the attached footnote, by the end of 2015.

12. Based on the Law of Ukraine “On temporary Order of Local Self-Governance in Particular Districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts”, questions related to local elections will be discussed and agreed upon with representatives of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts in the framework of the Trilateral Contact Group. Elections will be held in accordance with relevant OSCE standards and monitored by OSCE/ODIHR.

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