A reintegration bill regarding the retention of Donbass is being discussed by Ukrainian parliament members; there is an overall consensus of refusing to identify the out of control separatist territories of Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (the DPR and the LPR) as legitimate terrorist organizations. The corresponding proposed amendment received only 76 votes out of the required 226 from Ukrainian lawmakers. The (radical) Party faction Oksana Korshinckaya put forth the notion to label LPR and DPR as terrorists earlier last year. The notion has not gained any tangible traction over the months.

Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s unicameral parliament, began discussing the idea of a bill to label the two faux republics as terrorist organizations under the pretense of “the peculiarities of state policy on the restoration of the state sovereignty of Ukraine over the temporarily occupied territory of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine,” according to parliament speaker Andrei Porubiy. During discussions, nearly 700 amendments were introduced into the bill.

The reintegration bill passed its initial reading of the bill on Oct. 6, 2017. The Verkhovna Rada Committee made the recommendation to adopt the bill into law with all of its recommended amendments under the proclamation of national security and defense on Nov. 17. The bill would be the first to officially suggest the concept of “Russian aggression” and declare the LPR and DTR as terrorist groups residing in Russian “occupied territories.” Initially, during its first reading, the bill had neglected to address the Minsk agreement, a cease-fire regarding the war in the Donbass region and its participants, or a reference to it. Several officials have warned that the bill in its current form will only serve to prolong the conflict governing the territory regardless of intention. No matter what, if reintegration is to take place, it will all come down to the willingness to execute use-of-force and scenarios where this will happen are eminent in that regard.

Ukraine’s existing bill that governs terrorism and it’s affiliates, which specifies the exact context and procedure for identifying a specific organization as a terrorist entity, was sent by parliament for a (repeated) second reading in March, 2015. The bill essentially gave Ukraine’s Security Service the power to commence, in Ukraine’s High Administrative Court, the dilemma of recognizing and labeling terrorist groups as such. Interestingly enough, Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council might have this right soon enough regardless. At the time, the deputies of Ukraine hinted that the bill was introduced with the specific intent of labeling the LPR and DPR as terrorists; however, the draft law was never adopted.

Despite the continued discussion of the issues plaguing eastern Ukraine by its politicians, the war on the ground continues to be waged. Over the course of the conflict, several cease-fire agreements have been made and broken by both sides. It is still unclear who will have their way in regards to the territory, but it is most certainly going to take some time before it gets fully sorted out.


Featured image courtesy of the Associated Press.