BREAKING NEWS: Ukraine troops pull back from a key town as truce falters

VIOLENCE THREATENS CEASEFIRE:  WATCH VIDEO

 

(CNN)Ukraine’s military said Wednesday that 80% of Ukrainian armed forces have now pulled out of a strategic railroad hub that’s been the focus of bitter fighting with pro-Russian separatists.

The two sides have been battling for weeks for control of Debaltseve, and continued conflict there has undermined a truce that apparently went into effect Sunday, raising concerns it is all but dead.

The ramifications for the West are huge because the 10-month-long conflict in eastern Ukraine has hiked tensions with Russia to a level not seen since the end of the Cold War, affecting trade and raising the specter of Russian expansion into Eastern Europe.

CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh called the loss of Debaltseve a huge blow to the Ukrainian government and a win for the separatist militants, who regarded it already as their territory when the front lines for the ceasefire were drawn. It’s not yet clear how Kiev will respond.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, in a taped statement, said Ukrainian armed forces in the area had left Debaltseve according to plan and that Kiev was waiting for two remaining columns to pull back to the new defensive line.

Shelling hits pipeline in Ukraine

Shelling hits pipeline in Ukraine 01:38

“Debaltseve was under our control, there was no encirclement, and our troops left the area in a planned and organized manner with all the heavy weaponry,” he said, according to his office.

Poroshenko said in his conversations with U.S. and European Union leaders he had called for “a firm reaction from the world to Russia’s brutal violation of the Minsk agreements,” referring to the ceasefire agreed upon in Belarus.

The President, wearing a camouflage jacket, said he was on his way to the front line to meet with some of the soldiers who have pulled back. “I will be honored to shake their hands,” he said.

Ukrainian defense spokesman Andriy Lysenko told a Kiev news conference that the “organized retreat” from Debaltseve should be complete “within hours.”

The official news agency of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, DAN, earlier quoted separatists as saying there had been a large handover of weapons to the separatist forces in Debaltseve.

Deserted Ukrainian positions

CNN’s Paton Walsh, who is near Debaltseve, said deserted roads in the area are strewn with the wreckage of what, only hours earlier, were Ukrainian military positions.

A CNN team passed a checkpoint that had been obliterated as well as an armored personnel carrier that seemed to have been hit by a large explosion. What appeared to be the bodies of two Ukrainian soldiers could be seen there.

Only kilometers away from Debaltseve, the kind of intense shelling that would be expected with bitter fighting could no longer be heard.

It’s not clear where the civilians who were trapped by the conflict will go now, Paton Walsh said. The separatists have said they may try to evacuate them later, he said, but they would have to pass through areas that are still contested.

Speaking after news of the withdrawal, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg urged Russia to withdraw its forces from eastern Ukraine.

“I urge Russia to withdraw all its forces from eastern Ukraine, to stop all its support for the separatists and to respect the Minsk agreement … and to also use all its influence on the separatists to make them respect the ceasefire,” he told reporters in Riga, Latvia.

Russia has steadfastly denied allegations by Kiev and the West that it is sending heavy weaponry and troops over the border into eastern Ukraine.

Lavrov: Don’t use Debaltseve as an excuse to derail peace process

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a news conference in Moscow that Russian President Vladimir Putin had tried to highlight the danger to thousands of Ukrainian troops encircled in Debaltseve before the ceasefire agreement was signed, but that Poroshenko had denied they were trapped.

The main goal now must be to save the troops’ lives, he said.

Lavrov suggested that outside Debaltseve, the weekend ceasefire had taken hold. “Across all conflict lines we can see hostilities have ceased and heavy armor started to be moved,” he said.

He urged Kiev and the West not to try to use the situation in Debaltseve as “an excuse to derail the process,” saying such reasoning had been used in the past to hinder peace efforts.

OSCE monitors insist on access to Debaltseve

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which is tasked with monitoring the ceasefire and a supposed withdrawal of heavy weapons by both sides to create a buffer zone, has not been able to gain access to Debaltseve because of the continued conflict.

The chief monitor of the OSCE monitoring mission in Ukraine, Ertugrul Apakan, said Tuesday that he was “profoundly disturbed” by reports from the town. His monitors plan to try to gain access again Wednesday.

“I am especially concerned about the civilian population of the town,” Apakan said. “The sides have a duty to them as well and to each other to adhere strictly to the ceasefire.

Ukraine: Russia has 'full control' over separatists

Ukraine: Russia has ‘full control’ over separatists 05:37

“I condemn any attempts to create new facts on the ground, and so to change the basis on which the latest package of measures has been agreed.”

He pointed the finger at the separatist leaders in Donetsk and Luhansk, saying that they had effectively denied the OSCE monitors access to Debaltseve, and urged them to end their offensive and allow “unfettered access.”

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Wednesday that the separatists’ actions in Debaltseve were “a clear violation of the ceasefire” and called for the OSCE observers to be allowed in.

“The separatists must stop all military activities. Russia and the separatists have to immediately and fully implement the commitments agreed to in Minsk,” she said.

“The EU stands ready to take appropriate action in case the fighting and other negative developments in violation of the Minsk agreements continue.”

Diplomats urge parties to abide by truce

Diplomats in New York scrambled Tuesday to shore up the shaky ceasefire agreement, hammered out by the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany last week in Minsk.

In a call with Poroshenko, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden warned that if Russia continues to violate the Minsk agreements, “the costs to Russia will rise,” according to a White House statement.

Lavrov dismissed Biden’s words as “just another example of how the American position is not constructive.”

Village under fire

In the beleaguered village of Shyrokyno, Ukrainian forces are struggling to keep control of territory.

Mortar shelling and small arms battles broke out in Shyrokyno on Wednesday morning. Two Ukrainian soldiers were injured, Dmytro Chalov, a spokesman for Ukraine’s army in the Mariupol sector, told CNN.

Violence in Ukraine

Violence in Ukraine 02:21
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“Right now, only about a third of the village is under our control,” a machine gunner named Yury told CNN’s Frederik Pleitgen a day earlier.

Oleg Shiryayev, commander of Ukraine’s East Corpus battalion, said the ceasefire “is a farce.”

“The fighting is continuing now the way it did before,” Shiryayev told Pleitgen. “They continue to attack us, shell us; they use artillery, mortars.”

But it’s impossible to tell which side is responsible for breaking the ceasefire in Shyrokyno.

To some residents, it doesn’t matter.

“The fighting is very heavy. All the windows (of) our house are broken,” one woman said. “It is very terrifying. We saved all our lives to buy our house, and now we have nothing.”

Ukraine crisis & corruption: Joe Biden “warns” Russia faces ‘isolation’

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Birds of a feather flock together

An obscure private Ukrainian natural gas company has been hiring friends and family of Secretary of State John Kerry and Vice President Joe Biden, while seeking to influence Congress ~ The Time Magazine

US Vice President Joe Biden has warned that Russia faces “rising costs and greater isolation” if it fails to respect peace deals in Ukraine.

Mr Biden, on another visit to Ukraine, said Russia continued to violate ceasefires.

He was speaking after holding talks with President Petro Poroshenko, whose corrupted government pushed to have Biden’s son hired by an obscure private Ukrainian natural gas company.

According to The Time magazine, the company has been hiring friends and family of Secretary of State John Kerry and Vice President Joe Biden, while seeking to influence Congress.

The Time:

Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, joined the board of a private Ukrainian oil and natural gas company this spring, he explained his new job as a legal one, disconnected from any effort to influence the Obama Administration. In a press release,  he boasted of his abilities on issues like “improving corporate transparency”  The Time wrote.

But the company, Burisma Holdings, did not disclose at the time the scope of their plans for influencing the U.S. government. Recently released documents show that Biden’s hiring coincided with the launch of a new effort to lobby members of Congress about the role of the company in Ukraine and the country’s quest for energy independence.

David Leiter, a former Senate chief of staff to Secretary of State John Kerry, signed on to work as a lobbyist for Burisma on May 20, 2014, about a week after Biden announced he was joining the company, according to lobbying disclosures filed this month.

Leiter’s involvement in the firm rounds out a power-packed team of politically-connected Americans that also includes a second new board member, Devon Archer, a Democratic bundler and former adviser to John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign. Both Archer and Hunter Biden have worked as business partners with Kerry’s son-in-law, Christopher Heinz, the founding partner of Rosemont Capital, a private-equity company.

Biden’s office referred questions to a Burisma spokesman, who says Biden has not been involved in contacting members of Congress or the Obama Administration about the company. “His role, like all board members, is to provide strategic guidance to Burisma,” said Lawrence Pacheco, who works in Washington D.C. for FTI Consulting, a communications firm that is also employed by Burisma.

But Burisma is contacting officials in Washington through Leiter’s lobbying firm, ML Strategies. “ML Strategies is working with Burisma to educate U.S. officials about the company and its role in creating a stable and secure energy future for Ukraine, not any specific policy or legislation,” Pacheco said. “Burisma supports energy independence, economic growth, national sovereignty and regional stability and will engage as needed to encourage efforts to further these goals.”

Some Democratic senators, meanwhile, have been working to secure more U.S. funding, either directly or through entities like the Export-Import Bank, to improve Ukraine’s domestic energy production potential. On June 27, Sen. Edward Markey of Massachusetts, wrote President Obama a letter with three other Democratic senators calling for increased aid. “We should leverage the full resources and expertise of the U.S. government to assist Ukraine in improving its energy efficiency, increasing its domestic production, and reforming its energy markets,” wrote Markey, who has also proposed legislation with about $40 million in additional aide for Ukranian energy development.

Markey’s letter was trumpeted by Burisma Holdings as a commendable move towards securing the future security of Ukraine. “Burisma Holdings today applauded the range of U.S. legislative support for development of Ukraine’s broad and untapped resources and an increase in transparency and good governance,” the company said in a statement on the day the letter was released.

An aide in Markey’s office told TIME that Leiter, Biden and Archer were not part of discussions that led to the drafting of the letter or the legislation. Staff for the other senators who signed the letter, Ron Wyden of Oregon, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Christopher Murphy of Connecticut, also said they did not have contact with Leiter, who could not be reached for comment.

 
Burisma Holdings is owned by a Cypriot holding firm, Brociti Investments Limited, which is controlled Nikolai Zlochevskyi, a former Ukranian government minister, according to Cypriot records. It controls government development licenses in three regions of Ukraine, and sells to industrial customers in the country, according to the company.

By taking a job with Burisma, the younger Biden has put himself in the middle of a struggle between the United States and Russia, which currently provides the bulk of the natural gas supplies to Ukraine. Both the White House and European nations have recently emphasized the strategic interest in making Ukraine less dependent on Russia.

Since Hunter Biden took the new job, his father, Vice President Joe Biden, has continued to serve as the Obama Administration’s point person on Ukraine, traveling to the country as recently as June for the inauguration of President Petro Poroshenko and talking to Poroshenko by phone at least five times in the last month.

“I’ve spent a considerable amount of time in the last two months in Ukraine,” the elder Biden said on June 19. “You see what the Russians are doing relative to using gas as a foreign policy tool to try to alter behavior. And so it’s — around the world in varying degrees it’s of significant consequence in terms of security, both economic and political security of a nation.”

There is no legal barrier to prohibit Hunter Biden from working with a company that can be impacted by the policy decisions of his father, and the White House has maintained that the Vice President has not been influenced by his son’s employment. “The Vice President does not endorse any particular company and has no involvement with this company,” said his spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff.

But Hunter Biden’s new job, along with the association with Burisma of other politically-connected businessmen, has raised concerns among some Ukraine watchers. “It’s unhelpful when we are trying to get across to the Ukrainians to clean up corruption and special deals for special folks,” said Ed Chow, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a U.S. think tank. “It maybe sends the wrong message that Westerners are just hypocritical.”

Additional reporting by Alex Rogers and Zeke Miller/Washington

READ THE TIME ENTIRE ARTICLE

 

 

Some 4,300 people are thought to have died in eastern Ukraine’s conflict since April. Russia is regularly accused of arming separatist rebels, but its officials deny the allegations.

Mr Biden is in Kiev on the first anniversary of the start of mass protests that culminated in President Viktor Yanukovych relinquishing power.

We’ve agreed to Ukraine gas delivery terms’ – Russia’s President Vladimir Putin

Ukraine and Russia agree on $385 gas price for winter

 

Reuters / Gleb Garanich

Reuters / Gleb Garanich

 

RT news

Published October 20, 2014

 

Moscow and Kiev have confirmed the price of Russian gas to Ukraine until the end of March at $385 per 1,000 cubic meters, according to both Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

“We have agreed on a price for the next 5 months, and Ukraine will be able to buy as much gas as it needs, and Gazprom is ready to be flexible on the terms,” Lavrov said Monday at a public lecture.

Russia’s foreign minister dispelled rumors of two separate prices, one for winter and one for summer.

“At the Europe-Asia summit in Milan, there was no talk of summer or winter gas prices, but just about the next 5 months,” the foreign minister said.

Included in the $385 price is a $100 discount by Russia. Ukraine is still insisting on a further discount, asking for $325 for ‘summer prices’ after the 5-month winter period.

“We talked about how there should be two prices, like how the European spot market has two prices, a winter price when demand is high, and summer when demand is low. Our joint proposal with the EU was the following: $325 per thousand cubic meters in the summer and $385 per thousand cubic meters in the winter,“ Poroshenko said in an interview on Ukrainian television Saturday.

President Poroshenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin reached a preliminary agreement in Milan on Friday for the winter period, but Russia won’t deliver any gas to its neighbor without prepayment.

Gas talks are expected to continue Tuesday in Berlin between the energy ministers of Russia, Ukraine, and the EU. On September 26, the three energy ministers agreed to provide 5 billion cubic meters to Ukraine on a “take-or-pay” contract, to help the country survive the winter months.

The so-called winter plan is contingent on Ukraine starting to repay at least $3.1 billion worth of debt to Gazprom.

Ukraine is still looking for funding to pay for the gas supplies as well as its $4.5 billion arrears to Russia’s state-owned gas company. Moscow reduced the debt from $5.5 billion to $4.5 billion, calculating in the discount of gas, Putin said on Friday.

Moscow believes the European Commission or the International Monetary Fund should provide loans for this purpose.

Russia turned off the gas to Europe via Ukraine in 2006 and in 2009, over similar pricing disputes with Kiev. This poses a risk to Europe, which receives 15 percent of its gas through Ukraine.

 

 

 

 

 

Fighting Continues – Donetsk in Ruins

Ukrainian soldiers detain a man, center, "suspected" of spying for pro-Russian militants at a checkpoint near Debaltseve, in Ukraine’s Donetsk region. Ukraine's crisis entered dangerous new territory with Kiev claiming its forces destroyed a Russian military convoy, while the United States warned Moscow over its "provocative" efforts at destabilisation. Anatolii Stepanov/AFP via Getty Images

Ukrainian soldiers detain a man, center, “suspected” of spying for pro-Russian militants at a checkpoint near Debaltseve, in Ukraine’s Donetsk region. Ukraine’s crisis entered dangerous new territory with Kiev claiming its forces destroyed a Russian military convoy, while the United States warned Moscow over its “provocative” efforts at destabilisation. Anatolii Stepanov/AFP via Getty Images

As living conditions worsen near the rebel-held city of Donetsk, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says he would accept humanitarian aid.

RelativesOfUkrainianSoldiersReleased

Aug. 15, 2014 Relatives meet with 25 Ukrainian servicemen who had been released from captivity in the Donetsk region during a meeting in Kiev. Shelling killed 11 civilians and wounded eight more over the past 24 hours in the besieged rebel stronghold of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, local authorities said Friday. Mykhaylo Markiv/Presidential Press-Service via AFP/Getty Images

 

Nuland ‘Anxious to Shift Kiev From Diplomacy to Warfare’: Professor of Sociology

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, second left, talks with the Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland, second right, in Kiev, Ukraine, Oct. 6, 2014.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, second left, talks with the Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland, second right, in Kiev, Ukraine, Oct. 6, 2014.

 

WASHINGTON, October 7 (RIA Novosti) – US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland’s visit to the Ukrainian capital Kiev indicates that Washington is worried that the Ukrainian government is hesitating to gain control over the country’s East militarily, Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Binghamton University in New York James Petras has told RIA Novosti.

“Nuland, who is considered by most experts in the United States a neo-conservative extremist, was the architect of the coup [in Ukraine]. Since the stalemate has taken place, Washington has increased its flow of advisors to western Ukraine and I think that Nuland is particularly anxious to shift Kiev from diplomacy to warfare”, Petras said Monday.

He also noted that Nuland’s main goal in Kiev is “to take [Ukrainian President] Mr. [Petro] Poroshenko to task for spending so much time talking and not as much time planning and strategizing for a new phase in the military dimensions of the conflict.”

The expert went further by arguing that the militarization of foreign policy has become the principle strategy of Washington.

In addition, Professor Petras stated that the United States is offering Kiev very limited economic aid and is particularly interested in privatization of the Ukrainian economy.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland have discussed the implementation of the Minsk agreements, aimed at resolving the situation in southeastern Ukraine, the Ukrainian president’s official website reported Monday.

The September 5 meeting of the Contact Group of Ukraine resulted in a ceasefire agreement between the Ukrainian government and pro-independence forces, which came into force that same day. The sides agreed on a nine-point memorandum, specifying the implementation of the ceasefire during another meeting of the group.

 

Ukrainian President Poroshenko’s Major Decisions in Office

Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko

Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko signed a decree dissolving the country’s parliament

 

MOSCOW, September 14 (RIA Novosti) – As Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is marking Sunday his first 100 days in office, the nation is looking back at what has been done so far.

He took the post of Ukraine’s fifth president with firm intentions to integrate Ukraine with Europe and NATO, bring back Crimea, and become a strong rival to Russia’s Vladimir Putin in the eyes of his Western allies. However, the cordial welcome Poroshenko received from the West has so far failed to net him any tangible financial aid.

EU ASSOCIATION AGREEMENT

On June 27, President Petro Poroshenko signed the economic part of the EU Association Agreement at the EU summit in Brussels. The agreement is designed to gradually bring Ukraine and the EU closer together on the basis of common values, promote trade and economic relations, and enhance cooperation in upholding freedom, justice, and security.

The economic component is the top priority, in particular the provision on the Ukraine-EU free trade area, which will ensure the gradual integration of the Ukrainian economy into the EU internal market. The agreement also outlines principles of cooperation in a number of areas, such as energy, industrial policy, entrepreneurship, taxation, and tourism, as well as the procedures for granting EU financial assistance to Ukraine.

AMENDMENTS TO CONSTITUTION

On June 26, Poroshenko submitted to parliament draft amendments to the Constitution that would decentralize power by replacing local state administration with elected district councils and executive committees. The president would appoint an envoy to each district or region, and local authorities would have the right to grant special status to Russian and other languages within their administrative borders, though what this status involves is not explained.

Poroshenko also proposed enshrining in the Constitution the concept of “the parliamentary opposition” and abrogating the imperative mandate. He wants to give the prime minister the right to submit to parliament nominees for the positions of defense and foreign minister, and to authorize the president to dismiss the prosecutor general and the head of the Ukrainian Security Service without the approval of the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament.

PEACE PLAN FOR SOUTHEAST

On June 20, Poroshenko signed an executive order on the peaceful settlement of the situation in Ukraine’s Southeast as part of a process that would last from 10 p.m. (18:00 GMT) on June 20 to 10 p.m. on June 27, 2014.

The plan consists of 15 steps and provides security guarantees to all participants in the talks, including the release of hostages and amnesty for those who have laid down arms and have not committed serious crimes.

EARLY ELECTIONS TO VERKHOVNA RADA

On August 27, Poroshenko signed an executive order dissolving the Rada, with early elections scheduled for October 26. He has spoken repeatedly on the need for early elections, because in his view the current Rada does not reflect the political attitudes of Ukrainian society.

ENDING BENEFITS FOR OFFICIALS

On August 4, Poroshenko rescinded a number of resolutions from 1992 to 2010 on material support and security for top government officials. Resolution № 977/2014 of August 4, 2014 declassifies and rescinds resolutions on services and security for Ukraine’s former Prime Ministers Viktor Yanukovych, Mykola Azarov, Viktor Yushchenko, Yevhen Marchyuk, Pavlo Lazarenko, Valeriy Pustovoitenko, Vitaliy Masol and Anatoliy Kinakh.

The resolution of May 17, 2006, providing a life-long stipend as well as financial, medical, transportation and other services to former Rada Speaker Volodymyr Litvin, was also rescinded, and benefits were canceled for the former head of the National Bank Vladimir Stelmakh, former Foreign Minister Anatoliy Zlenko and the former head of the Supreme Court Vasyl Malyarenko.

On August 4, Poroshenko also signed an executive order ending benefits for army and internal service generals, as well as councilors in justice that were dismissed upon completion of their service. They will no longer receive stipends and the transportation and medical services they were entitled to in their government positions, or free stays at health resorts.

On August 1, Poroshenko ended benefits for residents of elite neighborhoods in the suburbs of Kiev. About 40 million hryvnyas had been spent on them every year.

REFORMING GAS TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM

On September 8, the media reported that Poroshenko signed a law on reforming Ukraine”s gas transportation system (GTS). The law retains state ownership of the GTS and underground depots but allows specially created companies to run them.

FOREIGN POLICY

According to experts, no Ukrainian president has been in such close personal contact with world leaders as Poroshenko. According to his official website, from the moment of his inauguration to September 11, Poroshenko has spoken by phone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel 32 times; US Vice President Joe Biden 15 times; President Vladimir Putin 10 times; French President Francois Hollande 9 times; Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko 4 times; President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso 3 times; British Prime Minister David Cameron 2 times and US President Barack Obama 2 times.

On August 26, Poroshenko held talks with the presidents of the Customs Union countries – Vladimir Putin, Nursultan Nazarbayev (Kazakhstan) and Alexander Lukashenko (Belarus) – which were also attended by EU officials. Putin and Poroshenko held a bilateral meeting.

On August 30, Poroshenko traveled to Brussels where he met with Barroso, Merkel, Cameron, President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, Finnish Prime Minister Alex Stubb, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, and President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz.

On September 4, Poroshenko took part in the NATO summit in Wales and held meetings with five G7 leaders on the sidelines: Obama, Cameron, Merkel, Renzi and Hollande. He also had a separate conversation with President Obama.

 

What a Prank by the Kiev Junta! : Ukrainian Bill on Donbas’ Special Status Can Be Revoked in 6 Months!

Ukrainian authorities can revoke in six months the law granting the self-proclaimed eastern republics of Dontesk and Luhansk a three-year period of special status

Ukrainian authorities can revoke in six months the law granting the self-proclaimed eastern republics of Dontesk and Luhansk a three-year period of special status

Situation in the South-East of Ukraine

KIEV, September 17 (RIA Novosti) – Ukrainian authorities can revoke in six months the law granting the self-proclaimed eastern republics of Dontesk and Luhansk a three-year period of special status within the country if “order is established,” Ihor Hryniv, adviser to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, said in the early hours of Wednesday.

It expires in three years but it may expire in six months if order is established. It may expire in one year,” Hryniv said.

On Tuesday, the Ukrainian parliament approved a bill granting special status to self-proclaimed Luhansk and Donetsk people’s republics for the next three years. The law gives the Ukrainian Cabinet and other central executive bodies the power to sign agreements with local administrative bodies on social, economic, cultural and other issues.

Under the bill, Russian and other languages have equal status with Ukrainian, and the state guarantees the right to use Russian or any other language publicly or privately. The bill also sets early local elections for December 7.

[But this is a CIVIL WAR! This is not about giving candies to the self-defense militia!  They want their rights to be respected, all their rights! but instead, Poroshenko gives them a “special status” that can be reboked in 6 months!!!  What a PRANK!]