Ukraine’s Donetsk Republic Calls Kiev’s
Decentralization Reform a Farce
TASS News Agency
September 2, 2015
The militia leader stressed once again that in line with Minsk-2, Kiev should agree with Donbas on changes to the country’s fundamental law.
The constitutional reform being conducted in Ukraine is not in the slightest in line with the Minsk Agreements, the head of the self-proclaimed 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 “As of today, no point of the Minsk Agreements has been fully implemented by Kiev: military hardware has not been withdrawn from the disengagement line, moreover, its number has been increased, the law on amnesty has not been adopted by the Verkhovna Rada,” Zakharchenko said.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 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,” the Donetsk News Agency quoted the DPR leader as saying.
Zakharchenko stressed once again that in line with “Minsk-2”, Kiev should agree with Donbass the changes to the country’s fundamental law. “But Kiev has made no steps forward despite 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 the east of Ukraine, “unambiguously show once again that Kiev has not listened, is not listening and, it seems, is not going to listen to the voice of Donbass”.
The Ukrainian presidential press service reported earlier Wednesday that Poroshenko held talks with Sajdik at which he pointed to “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 to the Ukrainian Constitution regarding decentralization in the first reading. The DPR and the Lugansk 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 Donbass’s special status from transitional provisions of the Constitution to its main text.
After a coup occurred in Ukraine in February 2014, mass protests soon erupted in Ukraine’s southeast, where local residents, mostly Russian speakers, did not recognize the coup-imposed authorities, formed militias and started fighting for their rights. In response, Kiev in April 2014 announced the start of “an antiterrorism operation” in east Ukraine, which involved the Armed Forces, the Interior Ministry’s National Guard and volunteer battalions made up of Euromaidan activists, many of whom hold far-right and neo-Nazi views. Ukrainian troops have been engaged in fierce fighting with local militias during Kiev’s punitive operation, underway since mid-April 2014, against the breakaway territories – the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics constituting parts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine.
Massive shelling of residential neighborhoods, including with the use of aviation, has killed thousands and led to a humanitarian disaster in the area. Kiev has regularly violated the ceasefire regime imposed as part of the Package of Measures on implementation of the September 2014 Minsk Agreements. The Package (Minsk-2) was signed on February 12, 2015 in the Belarusian capital Minsk by participants of the Contact Group on settlement in Donbass.
The Package, earlier agreed with the leaders of the Normandy Four (Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine) envisioned an overwhelming cessation of fire and withdrawal of heavy armaments to create a security area in the region at least 50 kilometers wide. The constitutional reform and decentralization of power in Ukraine were also among the document’s key provisions, just as establishment of working subgroups. The subgroups have been formed and focus on four areas: economic issues and restoration of facilities; refugees, internally displaced persons and humanitarian assistance; political issues; security issues.
Quemado Institute comments: The following is an edited autotranslation of the original Donetsk News Agency report on which the above TASS article was based:
Constitutional reform in Ukraine Has Become a Farce – Zakharchenko
Edited autotranslation by Quemado Institute
September 2, 2015
Ukrainian reform on the decentralization of government not only does not correspond to the Minsk Agreements, but flatly contradicts them. This was stated by the Head of DPR Alexander Zakharchenko. “To date, Kiev has fully failed on all of the points of the Minsk Agreement. Military vehicles were not only taken to the demarcation line, but even increased in number; the amnesty law has not yet been accepted by the Verkhovna Rada. With regard to constitutional reforms on decentralization, they are nothing but a farce. This law, which has led to the deaths of people beneath the walls of the Verkhovna Rada, not only does not correspond to the Minsk Agreements, but flatly contradicts them,” the words of the Head of the DPR are quoted by his administration.
Zakharchenko said that according to “Minsk-2”, Donbass should agree with Kiev’s changes to the fundamental law of the country. “But no reciprocal steps followed, just frankly provocative statements from Kiev,” he recalled. The head of the DPR said that recent statements by the president of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko at the meeting with OSCE Special Representative Martin Sajdik, “once again clearly show that Kiev would not listen, does not listen and does not seem to want to listen to the voice of Donbass”.
“In fact, every word in the rhetoric of the so-called president of Ukraine are blatant and barefaced lies, designed for the citizens of Ukraine, who completely lose critical thinking because of Kiev propaganda,” the Head of the DPR summed up.
As the press service of the Ukrainian state, Poroshenko had talks with Sajdik, where he claimed “full implementation of the Ukrainian side of its political commitment to the Minsk agreements of 12 February 2015”.