Ukraine grants “special status” to eastern regions, amnesty to insurgents

Xinhua
September 16,2014

KIEV -The Ukrainian parliament on Tuesday approved two bills offering major concessions to independence-seeking insurgents and more autonomy to eastern regions, where unrest has been raging since mid-April.

The bill to grant amnesty to detained insurgents, who participated in the violent confrontation with government troops, was backed by 287 of 342 lawmakers present at the assembly.

The new law would apply only to those insurgents, who have not committed “serious crimes” such as murder or torture.

The other bill, submitted to the parliament by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, which offers a “special status” to regions in eastern Ukraine for three years, was approved with 277 votes in favor.

The “special status” of the regions increases the authority of local communities by transferring more economic, financial and administrative powers to the regional governments.

The new law provides for the holding of local elections in the region on Dec. 7 and enables local communities to take part in the appointment of heads of regional prosecutor offices and courts.

It also gives legal instruments to regional governments for self-rule in issues related to economic, social and cultural development of the area.

In addition, the law introduces a special economic system aimed at rehabilitating the region’s industry, transport and social infrastructure as well as creating new jobs and attracting investment and loans.

The law also guarantees the right to use Russian and other regional languages in public and private life and envisages support for learning and free development of those languages.

Ukrainian authorities agreed to offer major concessions to insurgents in an attempt to settle the five-month conflict in eastern regions, which claimed some 3,000 lives.

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