Russia blasts Ukrainian Donbas law as preparations for war

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MOSCOW, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) — The Russian Foreign Ministry said Thursday that it saw Ukraine’s new law on the return of the insurgent Donbas region in eastern Ukraine as “preparations for a new war.”

“There is no question of any ‘reintegration’. On the contrary, everything done (by Kiev) will only split Ukraine even further and alienate citizens residing in Donbas,” the ministry said in a statement.

Moscow accused Kiev of violating the Minsk deals on the Ukrainian conflict and undermining all existing mechanisms for finding mutually acceptable solutions.

Earlier in the day, the Ukrainian parliament passed a law on the return of the Donbas region, which the legislation defines as “temporarily occupied territories.”

The law is designed to safeguard the rights of people living in Donbas, the Ukrainian parliament said in a statement.

The conflict in Ukraine’s eastern Lugansk and Donetsk regions, together known as Donbas, started in April 2014 after government forces launched offensives to regain control of the cities and towns seized by armed groups which declared independence from Kiev.

Ukraine has long accused Russia of aiding the insurgents and sending troops to combat areas in Donbas. Moscow has repeatedly dismissed Kiev’s claims, saying that Ukraine has offered no evidence of Russia’s alleged involvement in the conflict.

The Minsk agreements, reached in September 2014 and February 2015, envisage a ceasefire, a withdrawal of heavy weaponry from the contact line, a prisoner exchange and local elections, among other measures.

Source: xinhuanet