"Let us wait for Volker:" Why Ukraine does not hurry up to reintegrate Donbas

Author : Yaroslav Konoshchuk

Source : 112 Ukraine

Verkhovna Rada follows Volker-Surkov negotiations and whether the EU prolongs sanctions against Russia before voting for the bill on Donbas
09:41, 8 December 2017

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Reuters/ Oleksandr Klymenko

The bill on Donbas reintegration has not even been backed by the parliament, but has already entered the history of the Verkhovna Rada of the eighth convocation. When the parliament was voting for it in the first reading, one of Ukrainian MPs fired a smoke pellet. In addition to it, the draft law was supported as a whole, assuming an extension of the so-called special status of Donbas for one year.

Before voting for the second reading, the bill on reintegration was filled with amendments. According to Parliament Speaker Andriy Parubiy, more than 600 amendments were made, most of which were rejected by representatives of the Committee on National Security and Defense. However, the profile committee at its meeting on November 17 (after more than a month of battles) supported the bill in general.

Related: Ukrainian parliament to consider draft law on Donbas reintegration on December 19-22

The greatest discussion was caused by Article 10 of the draft law. It defined not only the order of trips to uncontrolled territory, but also granted additional rights to the military and special services. For example, allow the military to use weapons and military equipment. After the debate the parliamentarians decided to edit this point, limiting the possibility of using weapons only by the zone of military operations.

"We have done our work, and I am sure that Rada should vote on the bill in the next three weeks," said its Chairman Serhiy Pashynsky after his statement at the Committee's meeting. However, the confidence of the parliamentarian has not yet been transferred to his colleagues.

Related: Date of Russian aggression beginning determined in draft law on Donbas reintegration

At the first winter conciliation council, deputies once again remembered the reintegration of Donbas. First Deputy Chairman of the People's Front faction Andriy Teteruk demanded its early adoption, noting that "Russia should be recognized as an aggressor." However, Bloc of Petro Poroshenko faction they do not share Tetheruk's appeals and note that the bill will not be considered at the current plenary week.

"Now this bill has been handed over to representatives of all factions and groups, people's deputies, as we found out during the conciliation council, not all of them have received or looked at. We want everyone to get acquainted in detail, so that the bill receive its support in the Verkhovna Rada," said head of Bloc of Petro Poroshenko faction Artur Herasimov after the meeting of the Conciliation Council.

Related: Poroshenko’s plan on Donbas reintegration

At the current plenary week, parliamentarians plan to adopt in the second reading the draft budget for 2018, which means there is a risk in the absence of the necessary quorum for taking decisions at the next and last plenary week this year. At the same time Herasimov hastened to assure that Bloc of Petro Poroshenko faction will vote for the bill on reintegration of Donbas.

According to sources in the factions of the coalition and the presidential administration, the delay in considering the draft law is connected with the diplomatic maneuvers of the authorities. “We will postpone the bill, let us see how the talks between Volker (U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker, - Ed.) and Surkov (Head of the Government Executive Office of Russia, - Ed.) will develop, and whether the EU will prolong sanctions against Russia for the next six months. Because, as it is known, there is a discussion about this. If anything happens, it is always at hand," our interlocutors note.

Related: Law on Donbas reintegration to work in perspective,- Head of Donetsk Administration

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