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updated 7:27 AM UTC, Nov 9, 2017

Russian Foreign Ministry’s Statement on Ukraine’s constitutional process

Russia is concerned about the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and problems arising in the course of a settlement. Kiev has been very selective with respect to the February 12, 2015 Minsk agreements – its approach is based on its own interpretation.

The draft amendments to the provisions of the Ukrainian Constitution on decentralization, submitted to the Verkhovna Rada recently, were prepared not only without the participation of the real representatives of Donetsk and Lugansk but also without any account of the interests of Ukraine’s southeast. This document in no way corresponds to the Minsk agreements that clearly require a permanent special status for Donbass and decentralisation of powers and authority. This provision is described in detail in Item 11 of the Minsk Package of Measures.

By introducing the thesis about “peculiarities of local self-government in the individual districts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions” into the draft’s section on transitional provisions, Kiev is trying to feign the implementation of its Minsk commitments. But this attempt is simply a sidestep and should not deceive anyone. Speaking in the Verkhovna Rada on July 16, 2015, President Petr Poroshenko said that the draft amendments to the Ukrainian Constitution do not grant special status to Donbass.

Such “Kiev-style decentralisation” is largely prompted by transitory considerations of political expediency and may at any time become a bargaining chip in the never-ending struggle for power in Ukraine. Moreover, this demagogical rhetoric is misleading the public in Ukraine and the rest of the world.

Ukraine badly needs real constitutional reform but it should lead to the adoption of a thoroughly amended and updated public contract after a comprehensive discussion. Poly-ethnic Ukrainian society should perceive it as a firm and reliable long-term agreement that guarantees equality for all regions and ethnic groups. Without this, Ukraine will not be able to resolve its urgent needs in overcoming the current deep crisis.

We are urging Ukraine to stop evading the process of political settlement and to strictly abide by the spirit and letter of the Minsk-2 accords.

We also hope that instead of encouraging Kiev’s irresponsible policy, our Western partners will still try to persuade the Ukrainian authorities to launch a true nationwide political dialogue in the country.

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