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Statement by DPR Foreign Minister regarding further consideration by Ukrainian parliament of “decentralization” project

According to information from open sources, on January 14, the Ukrainian parliament is going to vote for submitting to the Constitutional Court of draft amendments introduced by Zelensky to the Basic Law of Ukraine for further consideration.

It should be noted that the project on “decentralization” of the country essentially has nothing to do with the concept of decentralization, which is described in paragraph 11 of the Package of Measures. There is the decentralization, taking into account the peculiarities of Donbass and in coordination with its representatives. Moreover, these features are listed in the note to this paragraph. Among them, there is the right to linguistic self-determination, participation in the appointment of prosecutors and judges, conclusion by local authorities of agreements with central executive bodies, a special economic regime, people's police, right to cooperate with Russia, etc.

The document submitted by the Ukrainian president does not contain a word about Donbass special status, although its consolidation in the Constitution is one of the fundamental conditions for a long-term and effective political conflict settlement.

In addition, Zelensky is trying to delete the very concept of “area” from the country's main law, which is fundamental for the implementation of Minsk agreements.

So, the Ukrainian authorities are not only not going to grant Donbass a special status, but also intend to block even this opportunity at the level of the Constitution.

Without mentioning the fact that Kiev did not submit for approval of the Contact group any draft constitutional amendments, as well as any other draft legislative acts adopted by Ukraine in relation to Donbass. Such an approach fundamentally contradicts Ukraine’s political obligations both in terms of the Package of Measures and the final communiqué of the Normandy Four countries, which clearly indicate the need for coordination between two sides of the conflict of all issues related to its settlement.

We come to the conclusion that the only thing in common between Zelensky’s initiative and directly the requirements of the Minsk Agreements regarding constitutional reform is the very word “decentralization”. But, in fact, only a verbal appearance remained from this concept, which covers the Ukrainian leadership’s initiative that is divorced from reality and contradicts the Package of Measures.

Moreover, for other regions of Ukraine, this “decentralization” is nothing more than an increase in the centralization of power. In particular, the project involves introduction of a supervisory mechanism in a form of prefects appointed and subordinate to the president, who receive the authority to suspend any act of local government. Moreover, the Ukrainian leadership did not bother to discuss and coordinate these initiatives even with their own citizens, organizations and associations of local self-government. For example, recently, the Association of Ukrainian Cities made several official statements about the harmfulness of Zelensky’s initiatives for local self-government and called on the Ukrainian parliament to reject the draft constitutional reform.

Once again, we draw attention to the fact that Republics will never recognize any of the intentions or actions of the Ukrainian leadership regarding Donbass, which has not been submitted to us for approval.

Moreover, the draft submitted to the Ukrainian parliament by Zelensky, in essence, has nothing to do with either the internal conflict in Donbass, or the Minsk process. We consider it only as a frank imitation and substitution of concepts, but not a real desire to settle the conflict.