Reintegrating Donbas: Ukraine wants to cut water supply and social benefits

Author : Olha Chaika

Source : 112 Ukraine

Ukrainian MPs are concidering a bill on cancelling social benefits to the residents the occupied territories and passing the buck to Russia
10:25, 16 February 2017

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Ukraine might cut water supply and cancel social benefits to the residents the occupied territories. Russia might become responsible for human rights in Donbas, and the guarantor of this could become another patron country. Such change are required by a bill №3593-d on the occupied territories. The document is now considered by the relevant committee, while some political forces insist on its adoption in order to legislatively settle the issue of the occupied territories and trade with them.

Related: Two years of fragile peace: What awaits the "Minsk-2?"

The document has been submitted by 28 MPs, the main initiator is the Verkhovna Rada vice-speaker Oksana Syroid. "Samopomich" and "Fatherland" might support the initiative to adopt such a bill, but they can meet resistance from the power parties.

Oksana Syroid

Now the law does not define the legal status of the temporarily occupied territory, there is no legal definition of the boundary line and the order of its crossing.

"All of this has caused a wave of discontent in society, and the lack of a decent reaction of Parliament led to the fact that people began the public blockade..." as said in a memorandum.

We are talking about the blockade of the administrative border line with occupied Crimea. Recall, the bill was submitted to the Verkhovna Rada in the summer of 2016.

Related: Blast at Donetsk chemical plant

The document consists of four parts: a temporary occupation; the liberation of territory and the introduction of the state of emergency; legal regime after lifting of the state of emergency.

Ukraine or Russia: who is responsible for the local residents

Occupied territory is recognized as an integral part of Ukraine, but the latter does not bear any responsibility for the life, health or property of its inhabitants (occupied Donbas and Crimea); pensions and other social benefits should be paid by Russia.

In general, the Russian Federation, as an occupier, has a lot of responsibilities:

  • It should be responsible for violation of the rights and freedoms of residents of the occupied territory.
  • Do not to deprive the local Ukrainian citizenship.
  • Repair material and moral damage to individuals and legal bodies, who have suffered as a result of the occupation.
  • It should also take care of the cultural heritage in the occupied territories.

As for Ukraine, the Cabinet of Ministers does everything possible to monitor compliance with human rights in the occupied territories. They also involve the "third" country, which is named the patron saint of the State bill.

Related: Donetsk governor: Situation in Avdiivka gets back to normal

The Cabinet of Ministers on the proposal of the Security Service creates a list of the occupied territories and the settlements with the dates of the beginning and ending of the occupation. General Staff of Armed Forces of Ukraine informs Cabinet of Ministers about the release of the temporarily occupied territories, and the latter removes the corresponding entries from the list.

The draft law stipulates that the local authority is leveled after the occupation of Crimea. In the case of occupation of the regional or district center - the power is transferred or evacuated. But if the whole region is occupied completely, evacuation is not possible. If the majority of the district or region is occupied, the rest of the territories might join another region, controlled by Ukraine.

The law prohibits conducting elections or referendums in the occupied territories.

Ukraine does not recognize those who declared themselves the so-called "authorities" in the occupied territories and those were appointed by Russia, and their decisions "are worthless and do not have legal consequences."

The inhabitants of the occupied territories should live without water, but with interest-free loans

Ministry of Education determines the way in which students are qualified to obtain the relevant document in the occupied territories. The higher schools and research institutions could move to the territory, controlled by Ukraine; they lose their licenses, certificates, and national accreditation status. In addition, the Ministry of Education can bring universities or research institutions, displaced from the occupied territories, together.

Related: OSCE Mission counted more than 3 000 explosions in Donetsk region

Housing and land in the occupied territories belong to Ukraine, bodies of state power or to private owners, even if the latter moved to the controlled area. During the occupation, housing or land can only be inherited by will, certified before the occupation or on the territory control by Ukraine. All sales transactions "are worthless and do not create legal consequences."

Credit is not a problem for people from the occupied territories. This document introduces the norm that since occupation, local people cannot be charged with penalties and fines to the principal amount of debt. The rule about the credits come into force after bill’s entry into force.

Related: SBU arrests Donetsk militant near ATO zone

This law equates the boundary of the temporarily occupied territory to the state and customs border of Ukraine with such features:

  • People can cross the border line only at the special check points, by internal or foreign passports, like on the other borders.
  • Foreigners and stateless persons are prohibited from entering the occupied territories without the permission of the Security Service.
  • Russian citizens are prohibited from entering the occupied territory.
  • Judges, prosecutors, some kinds of civil servants, officials of local government cannot enter the occupied territories, except for the purpose of the release of prisoners and the restoration of constitutional order.


Trade relations with the LPR and DPR

The demarcation line  cannot be crossed by the civil aircraft, any trains, civil and commercial ships, except for transit ships; Russian river ships, trucks and transports of the other countries, chosen by the Cabinet. It is forbidden to transport people across the demarcation line.

Related: Luhansk region water supplying is hot topic in negotiations

It is forbidden to supply water to the occupied territories. Also, alcohol, cigarettes, fuel, energy resources, and military goods cannot be imported. Parcels and humanitarian aid for citizens; food and goods for groups of persons approved by the Cabinet, are allowed. Transit through the occupied territories is prohibited.

No one can bring goods for the occupied territories. The IDPs are permitted to bring personal belongings only.

Related: Minsk Agreement may be written anew, - Tuka

The post-war regime of the state of emergency

After liberation from occupation of an area or city of regional significance, or town, where more than 50 thousand people lived before the occupation, the President of Ukraine declares the state of emergency for at least a year, and the parliament must approve it. After that, within three days, the president must establish military administration.

The state of emergency means that:

  • Local residents cannot leave without the permission of the military administration;
  • No one can enter the town or the village, without the permission of the military government, except its former locals;
  • The military administration expels from Ukraine those who contributed to the occupants;
  • It checks the locals, they obtain special identity documents and give the IDs issued by the self-proclaimed LPR/DPR;
  • Military Administration conducts demining;
  • Locals are called to surrender their weapons, explosives and ammunition;
  • The territories might obtain humanitarian aid, food and non-food products, approved by the Cabinet;
  • The work of hospitals, schools, and kindergartens should be restored;
  • The infrastructure should be repaired;
  • Size of the harm inflicted by the occupants should be estimated;
  • Symbols of the self-proclaimed LPR/DPR and everything connected with them should be taken away;
  • Only state-run media are allowed.

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Local executive authorities in this period are formed from the military.

Related: Poroshenko urges not to believe those who sharply criticize Minsk agreement

After lifting the emergency state

The upper limit of the emergency state is not registered. After expiring of the emergency state, the people get an ability to freely travel to the liberated city. The next period is mainly devoted to the reorganization of power - military administrations would be replaced with the local government administration. They will receive the powers of local councils. In Crimea, office of President of Ukraine must perform the role of Crimean Verkhovna Rada.

Related: Ukraine paid $107 thousand for water supply to occupied Luhansk

After removal of emergency state, the State Administrations should create the commission to assess the damage of all public and private property inflicted by the occupation. The specifics of work of the commission should be determined by the Cabinet. Based on these results, the Ministry of Justice refers to the European Court of Human Rights to make Russian Federation pay for to damages.

A separate article is devoted to the possibility of holding elections and referendums in the liberated territories:

  • at least 2 years after the reorganization of the military administrations in the state - the election of village and towns administrations,
  • at least 4 years - elections of deputies of the city administrations,
  • all the other elections are possible after 6 years.

That's not all the restrictions. It is necessary to conduct a census of the population and to renew the State register of voters for the elections in the liberated territories.

Related: EU and US to maintain sanctions against Russia until full implementation of Minsk agreement

The locals, who were living in the occupied territories, cannot become civil servants of "A" and "B" category.

Understanding: This is how monitor and supervising of local "unreliable" people is called

The bill involves the creation of the National Commission for mutual understanding, which will work with the Ministry of Justice. The commission is formed by the Parliament, the Cabinet, and the President; each of the bodies appoints 2 persons, one of them should always have lived on the territories controlled by the Ukraine, the other should be an IDP. There are a number of limitations: the committee member should be older than 30 years, speak Ukrainian; politicians, judges, prosecutors, law enforcement officers cannot become committee members.

Commission representatives are elected for 5 years and may be elected for the second time. They would get the same salary as deputy ministers do. The head should be chosen by a secret ballot for 1 year without the right to be elected again.

Related: Putin’s anthropology: who can be called the real Russian

Understanding measures may affect occupiers bearers, who joined the military action; officials of the illegal authorities, those who called for the creation of LPR/DPR, organizations that have worked in terms of the occupation, teachers, and professors.

All these people much would be forbidden to serve in the army, to become law enforcement officers, judges, diplomats, civil servants of "A" category, to work in the prosecutor's offices, the use the arms. And those who have been involved in aggression, cannot be journalists, keep their own media, to manage state or utility entities. The same restrictions apply to other people, but for a period of 7-10 years.

Related: UkrEnergo: anthracite coal left only for 40 days

Specially created National Commission on the understanding should collect information on "suspicious" persons and may prohibit to occupy a certain position. If a person tells some details about the Russian aggression, which Ukrainian law enforcement agencies did not know before, the commission may twice reduce the period of limitation.

Related: Ukraine to depend on anthracite coal another two years

It creates a special list of "suspicious persons," and some data would be opened to the public full name, the reason of being included into the list of those suspicious, and list of prohibitions.

Currently, a bill is under consideration by the Committee and has not received a conclusion. This was stated by the speaker of the Verkhovna Rada Andriy Parubiy during his visit to Lviv region on 13 February.

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