New laws giving greater powers to rebel-held areas in Ukraine have caused controversy after they were passed in a secret vote.
Critics say the measures were rushed through with no discussion in Kyiv’s parliament beforehand and that secret voting is reminiscent of how laws were passed under the ousted former president Yanukovych.
The Fatherland party, led by former prime minister Tymoshenko, claimed the voting was fixed. The party is opposed to the new laws, saying they legitimise the rebels.
Serhiy Sobolev from the Fatherland party said: “Unfortunately these laws do not bring peace. It gives an opportunity for those whom we defined terrorists to form their own police, their own authorities, courts and prosecutors. This is unacceptable.”
The UDAR party led by former boxer and Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitchko voted in favour of the laws, calling it the only possible solution to stop what they call Russian “agression.”
Vitaliy Kovalchuk, an MP from UDAR said: “This law demonstrated the good will of the Ukraininan parliament to improve the situation. Any further steps in Donbass will only become possible after heavy weaponry is withdrawn and all the guns are put down.”
In the rebel-held areas of the east of Ukraine, the reactions was lukewarm.
Vice Prime Minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, Andrei Purgin said: “We will have a look at this document and see what it says. However we should remember that this is the law of Ukraine that has been adopted by the Supreme Rada (Ukrainian parliament). We have our own Supreme Soviet which is passing its own laws. So we must have a clear understanding that this is merely a point of contact for a sort of dialogue, not more than that.”
Euronews correspondent in Ukraine, Angelina Kariakina, explained “The law on Donbass’s special status has been the result of a complicated compromise – so complicated, that the parliament made it a secret vote. Whether or not this law will work will become clear after the local elections in Donbass – the law says they should take place at the end of this year.”