The Ukrainian parliament has approved a bill extending the ‘special status’ of the occupied territories in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. The extension will last for one year, bringing what is intended to be a temporary measure into its 5th year of implementation. The bill passed with 320 votes in favor – opposition party “Golos”, led by rock star Svyatoslav Vakarchuk, voted against, while former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s Batkivshchyna party abstained.
The ‘special status’ itself, a requirement of the Minsk Agreements Ukraine signed under President Petro Poroshenko, outlines 10 points that need to be met before elections for local self-rule can be returned to the territories, though none have been realized in practice.
Importantly, the three most important factors are: an end to illegal armed formations within the territories; a guarantee of free action without armed interference; and a ban on illegal interference in the electoral process. It remains to be seen if Russia’s position after the latest Normandy summit in Paris will shift to allow the law’s conditions to be met.