Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
16 September, 9 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council (RNBO) reported at 12PM Kyiv time that while Ukrainian forces continue to honour the conditions of the ceasefire, Kremlin-backed terrorists and Russian soldiers continued to shell Ukrainian positions. The RNBO reported at 5PM Kyiv time that Kremlin-backed terrorists and Russian soldiers continued to fire heavy artillery into two districts of Donetsk city; causing civilian casualties and damage to residential buildings. The RNBO stated that on 15 September, 5 border guards, 3 army soldiers, and 4 National Guard soldiers held hostage by Kremlin-backed terrorists were released.
2. Parliament passes law on special status of regions of Donbas, amnesty in closed session
Ukraine’s Parliament passed the Law On the special procedure for local self-government in specific regions of Donetsk and Luhansk oblast in closed session. The law assigns special status to certain regions of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts for three years; with local elections in those regions to be held on 7 December, 2014; the participation of organs of local self-government in the appointment of judges and prosecutors; allows the possibility of forming, through local council, voluntary police units; allows the use of Russian and other languages in state and local self-government organs, courts, etc; provides for state support for reconstruction and economic development; provides for the possibility of forming agreements between central state organs and organs of local self-government on economic, social and cultural development. The draft law was proposed by the President of Ukraine.
Parliament also passed, in closed session, the Law On prevention of prosecution and punishment of people participating in the events in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, which offers amnesty to all who took part in the events in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, on the condition that they voluntarily surrender all weapons and free all hostages within a month of the law’s adoption. The amnesty does not cover those who committed grave crimes (murder, etc) or those involved in the downing of MH-17 and/or interfering with the investigation into the crash.
3. Ukraine, EU ratify Association Agreement
Ukraine’s Parliament ratified the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement, which includes a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement. 355 MPs voted for. The European Parliament also ratified the Agreement, with a vote of 535 in favor, 127 against and 35 abstentions. The European Parliament stated that “As a result of today’s votes both in the EU and Ukrainian Parliament, the deal will be applied provisionally but the date still needs to be confirmed by the Council. To take full legal effect, the deal has to be ratified by the 28 EU member states. So far, it has been ratified in six member states, but several years may elapse before the process is completed in all member states. It was planned to apply the trade rules from 1 November this year, but last Friday 12 September the EU, Ukraine and Russia agreed in talks to delay the provisional entry into effect of the trade rules until 31 December 2015.”
4. Ukrainian Parliament passes lustration law
Ukraine’s parliament passed a law on lustration on the third attempt, with 231 deputies voting for. The bill is aimed at preventing persons who are known to have previously participated in corruption from holding government posts.
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