(QHA) -

The Russian Foreign Ministry says the Ukrainian parliament's granting of a special status to portions of the eastern Luhansk and Donetsk regions is a "step in the right direction."

The two regions -- which are partially controlled by pro-Russian separatists -- the scene of intense fighting between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russian rebels which killed nearly 3,000 people.

The law passed by the Ukrainian parliament on September 16 would give certain rights and some forms of autonomy to the regions.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the special status is "in line with the spirit of agreements" signed in Geneva between Russia, Ukraine, and the United States.

But the ministry said any attempt to change the law -- which is being fiercely protested by several right-wing groups in Ukraine -- would result in "confrontation."