Self-rule for east Ukraine: the main points

16th September 2014, Comments 0 comments

Ukrainian lawmakers adopted legislation on Tuesday giving the separatist east limited self-rule under government proposals aimed at ending a deadly insurgency.

President Petro Poroshenko has said the proposals will pave the way for decentralisation while guaranteeing "the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence" of Ukraine.

Following are the main points of the legislation, unveiled as part of a European-brokered peace plan signed with pro-Russian insurgents and Moscow on September 5:

- The rebel-held Lugansk and Donetsk regions will be granted a "special status" giving them broader autonomy for a temporary three-year period.

- Local elections to be held in certain districts of the two mainly-Russian speaking regions on December 7. The last local elections held nationwide were in October 2010.

- Use of Russian language to be allowed in state institutions.

- Regional councils will have the power to appoint local judges and prosecutors.

- Local authorities in Donetsk and Lugansk can "strengthen good neighbourly relations" with their counterparts across the border in Russia.

- The legislation also promises to help restore damaged infrastructure and to provide social an economic assistance to particularly hard-hit areas.

- Another bill on amnesty protects from criminal prosecution "participants of events in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions" -- appearing to apply to both the insurgents and Ukrainian government troops. Rights groups have accused fighters on both sides of abuses that might be classified as war crimes.

Donetsk and Lugansk, together known as the Donbass, have a combined population of nearly seven million people, about one-sixth of the national total.

But it is responsible for nearly a quarter of Ukraine's exports and is home to strategic military production facilities that supply engines and other vital parts to Russian space rockets and aviation industry.

The industrial region is dotted with huge coal mines and steelworks that have been the driving engine of Ukraine's economy since the 19th century.

© 2014 AFP

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