KYIV (QHA) -

Ukraine's parliament Sept 16 adopted a bill granting "special status" to rebel-held Donetsk and Luhansk regions, giving them broader autonomy for a three-year period, seeking to end a deadly conflict in the region, where Ukrainian army fights pro-Russian separatists.

The law allows local authorities to set up their own police forces and name judges and prosecutors. It provides for snap elections on December 7 to establish new councils in the region.

The broad-ranging political legislation also guarantees the right for Russian to be spoken in state institutions, and allows local authorities to strengthen relations with neighboring regions of Russia.

A separate law passed in the same closed-door hearing grants amnesty to participants in the conflict between pro-Russian separatists and government forces, excluding those who have committed "serious crimes."

President Petro Poroshenko has said the "special status" law guarantees "the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence" of Ukraine.

QHA