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Ukrainian MPs call for immediate troop withdrawal from country’s east

RT | May 20, 2014

Ukrainian troops deployed in the country’s east should immediately return to their bases, the country’s parliament said in a memorandum. The freshly-adopted document also urges constitutional reforms based on the decentralization of Kiev’s power.

With 226 votes required to pass the law, the Ukrainian parliament finally adopted the so-called ‘Memorandum of Peace and Consent’, 252 MPs voting in favor. In particular, the document calls “to restore law, order and public safety in the state by stopping bloodshed and bringing to justice those responsible for the killings of civilians during mass protests; to stop the anti-terrorist operation in Ukraine’s southeast and return the soldiers involved in anti-terrorist operations to their places of permanent deployment.”

The document also urges for immediate constitutional reform that will grant more autonomy to regions.

The Verkhovna Rada voted after a debate concerning the wording of the article on the status of the Russian language. An agreement was reached after “constitutional status of the Ukrainian language as the language of state” was confirmed.

The document said that the state “must ensure the rights of minority languages.” The document made a point “to grant the status of the Russian language,” but stopped short from giving it the constitutional status. This resulted in the Communist Party abstaining from the vote.

Communist leader Pyotr Simonenko also blasted the decision to drop the provision granting amnesty to self-defense forces in the east.

MPs from the nationalist Svoboda Party abstained from voting as well, saying they believe the reform will be ineffective.

Further, the reform will provide for the country to drop its non-aligned status, allowing it to join any interstate union through a referendum.

Following the announcement, Russia said that if Ukraine’s authorities plan to implement all the reforms declared in the memorandum then they will finally be responding to Moscow’s calls.

“First, we have to see how it looks on paper. If this is true then it’s the development we have been talking about over the past months,” said Deputy Head of the Russian Foreign Ministry Grigory Karasin, as quoted by RIA Novosti.

May 20, 2014 - Posted by | Civil Liberties |

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