Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada prolonged the law on the Donbass special status until the end of 2020 at its extraordinary session on Thursday.
A total of 320 lawmakers supported the decision that required 226 votes for its approval.
"The article of the Ukrainian law ‘On the Special Procedure of Local Self-Government in Some Districts of the Donetsk and Lugansk Regions’ shall replace the figures 2019 with the figures 2020," the text of the adopted document says.
This means that the law on the Donbass special status is extended for a year until the end of 2020. The Ukrainian lawmakers did not make any other amendments to the law. The document will come into effect as of the day it is published, TASS reports.
The Servant of the People faction in the Verkhovna Rada said on Thursday in its comments on the need for the law’s extension that "its adoption signifies the commitment to resolve the Donbass problem peacefully already demonstrated by President Vladimir Zelensky during a Normandy Four meeting."
The law "On the Special Status of Local Self-Government in Some Districts of the Donetsk and Lugansk Regions" has been in effect since October 18, 2014 and the Ukrainian lawmakers have numerously prolonged it. Under its previous version, it was due to expire on December 31, 2019.
The document stipulates that the provisions on the special status will come into effect after democratic elections are held on the Donbass territories uncontrolled by Kiev and troops are pulled out from the region. Under the Minsk Package of Agreements on settling the situation in eastern Ukraine, the ex-Soviet republic is required to hold a constitutional reform and permanently seal the Donbass special self-governance status in its Fundamental Law. However, this has not been done to this day. The law on the special status passed by the Verkhovna Rada has been actually frozen after the Ukrainian lawmakers made amendments that contradicted the Minsk accords.
Zelensky told a news briefing after the summit of the Normandy Four (Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine) leaders in Paris that the law on the special status of Donbass will be extended for one year. The communique adopted at the end of the summit states that Ukraine agrees to grant Donbass a permanent special status.
As head of the pro-presidential Servant of the People party Alexander Kornienko revealed on Wednesday, the Ukrainian lawmakers are planning to draft and adopt a new law on the Donbass special status in 2020, which may take about a year. He assured that the new law "will be agreed with all the parties" but failed to specify them.