On January 18, the Ukrainian parliament passed a long-awaited law on the occupied territories. The new law aims to guide state policy in relation to parts of Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions that are currently under the control of Russia-led separatists.
Popularly termed the “Donbas De-Occupation Law,” the new regulations do little to actually liberate the region. Rather, they designate Russia as an “aggressor state” and formally declare the separatist-controlled territories “temporarily occupied.” They also expands the powers the military and the security agencies in the area and place legal responsibility for damage caused in the course of the fighting on Russia, amongst other things.
However, some MPs and rights activists have raised concerns. They worry that the law grants excessive power to the military and that several of its provisions remain exceeding vague.
Hromadske spoke with Ukrainian parliamentarian Oleksiy Ryabchyn and Vyacheslav Likhachev, a coordinator of the Vostok-SOS non-governmental organization, to learn more about what the law means in practice.