Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Donetsk People's Republic

Statement of Natalia Nikonorova regarding the published draft amendments to the constitution of Ukraine

17 December 2019
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The draft constitutional amendments submitted by the Ukrainian president to Verkhovna Rada are categorically contrary to the Package of Measures and the whole essence of peace negotiations.

Firstly, this project was not coordinated with Republics’ representatives, although in a communiqué following the meeting of the Normandy Four, the President of Ukraine confirmed his obligation to coordinate with us all the legal aspects of special status, including constitutional reform.

Secondly, in the draft amendments published today there is not a word about providing individual districts with a special status, although it is precisely the consolidation of a special status on an ongoing basis that is the meaning of those constitutional amendments that are prescribed in Package of Measures.

Thirdly, the draft submitted by Zelensky is essentially an attempt to usurp power by introducing the concept of the president’s representatives — the so-called prefects who have the authority to suspend any regulatory acts adopted by local councils.

And fourthly, the draft generally lacks the concept of “district”, as enshrined in Minsk agreements.

This means nothing more than fixing in the constitution the possibility at any time to deprive the region of special status, even if it had been provided in this draft.

In addition, the Ukrainian authorities may again try to legislate a special status in transitional provisions, which the Poroshenko team tried to impose at one time, but Donbass will never agree to this, because according to the Package of Measures, special status should be permanent. In fact, this law is a somewhat toughened version of the law that Poroshenko tried to push through.

We draw attention to the fact that the published draft amendments is intended to further strengthen the centralization of power and the unitarity of the state. And Ukraine’s representatives have enough ignorance to announce that this project was submitted to the Ukrainian parliament for consideration as part of the implementation of Minsk agreements. Although, in fact, the Package of Measures prescribes the inverse process in the Ukrainian constitution - decentralization of power, which should be carried out taking into account the parameters of Donbass special status and must be coordinated with Republics’ representatives.