Ukrainian President Poroshenko signs the Donbas Reintegration Bill

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed the Donbas reintegration bill.  “As I promised, I am signing the law on the reintegration of the Donbas.” He stated that the bill would not affect any of Ukraine’s international commitments, including the Minsk agreements. "Ukraine remains committed to a peaceful settlement of the situation in occupied Donbas, as envisioned by our international obligations,” the President wrote on his Facebook page.

On January 18, 2018, 280 people's deputies voted for the bill "On the peculiarities of State policy on ensuring Ukraine's State sovereignty over the temporarily occupied territories in Donetsk and Luhansk regions" wherein Russia was recognized as an aggressor state. This was then presented to the President for his review and approval.

According to Interfax-Ukraine, the signing of the document took place during the meeting of the Military Cabinet attended by Verkhovna Rada Speaker Andriy Parubiy, Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak, Chief of the General Staff Viktor Muzhenko, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Oleksandr Turchynov, Minister for Issues of Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons Vadym Chernysh, Foreign Affairs Minister Pavlo Klimkin and Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov.

Poroshenko said that the bill on the reintegration of the Donbas identifies Russia as an aggressor state. "Why is this bill so important? On the one hand, it reflects my strategy as president, as supreme commander-in-chief, which is the return of the occupied territories to Ukrainian sovereignty. In this law, we identify the Russian Federation as an aggressor. This is fixed at the legislative level."

The head of the government noted that the bill strengthens the legal basis for the use of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and other security forces for the defense of Ukraine. It also "determines and establishes the basic parameters for protecting the rights and freedoms of civilians" and "provides a legal mechanism, including a politico-diplomatic way of returning these territories."

The President emphasized that the document does not violate any of Ukraine’s international obligations, least of all the Minsk agreements. This is the position that the Russian Federation wishes to present while justifying its own unwillingness to cooperate and its open sabotage of the implementation of the Minsk agreements.

Poroshenko explained that the bill is a framework that "requires further legislative support for the actions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the actions of other security forces, so that we improve the legal mechanisms for restoring the territorial integrity of our country."

After signing the bill, Poroshenko said that he expects proposals from the leadership of the Defense Ministry and the General Staff on changing the format of the antiterrorist operation and the candidacy of the commander of the united forces.

  Donbas reintegration bill, Donbas, Ukraine