Kyiv approves 'special status' for rebel-held Donetsk, Luhansk regions

17 September 2014 08:49

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.