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Published in Stream:
Ukraine Live Day 477
Press by
The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Separatists Publish Proposed Amendments To Ukrainian Constitution; All Sticking Points Remain
7 years
Assessing The Russian Strategy In Eastern Ukraine
Shelling Reported In Donetsk

Last night the Russian-backed separatist leadership published a document which contained their proposed additions and amendments to the Ukrainian constitution. In the document, the separatists acknowledge not only the 'separate areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions,' but the Autonomous Republic of Crimea as integral parts of Ukraine.

While this may be seen as a move of acquiescence towards Kiev, it is in fact undermined by both the reality of the situation in the Donbass and other proposed amendments in the document.

Most important of all is that the local elections which must be held in the occupied territories as part of the 'Special Status' law passed by Ukraine in accordance with the Minsk agreements, are, Kiev says, only to be conducted once the Ukraine has full control over its borders, another point of the Minsk text.

There is no sign whatsoever that this is going to happen any time soon. The Russian-backed forces are not even allowing OSCE monitors to inspect most of the border, across which Russian troops and armour move freely. With such a state of affairs, the disputes between the separatists and Kiev on the manner in which the elections are to be held are moot.

Key sticking points in the separatists' proposals, that were evident when their representatives first submitted the draft document to the tripartite Contact Group on May 13, are still present.

These include the separatists' insistence that Ukraine be constitutionally obliged to pursue a 'non-aligned' status internationally, barring Ukraine from applying for EU or NATO membership.

The Ukrainian government has made it clear that it considers membership of both groups to be key foreign policy goals.

The proposals published last night also retain the demand for "people's militia," the leadership of which is to be appointed by the local government, who would remain in their posts according to the text.

This document therefore offers nothing but pro forma adherence to the Minsk agreements.

-- Pierre Vaux