Russia Warns that Ukraine Seeks to Evade Responsibilities in Donbass

Russia Warns that Ukraine Seeks to Evade Responsibilities in Donbass

The law on the reintegration of Donbass, which was accepted by the Ukrainian Rada on Thursday, labeled the self-proclaimed Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk in eastern Ukraine as "temporarily occupied territories", while qualifying the actions of Russian Federation as "aggression against Ukraine".

The law outlines the legal responsibilities of Russian Federation after it backed separatist forces in the country's Donetsk and Luhansk provinces, known as the Donbass region, four years ago, the Kyiv Post reported.

Ukraine's lawmakers passed the law on Thursday after heated discussions in parliament that lasted three days.

President Petro Poroshenko assures that together with worldwide partners, Ukraine is not only looking for new mechanisms to resolve modern challenges from the aggressor but is also preparing an adequate response to them.

It declares Russian Federation to be an "aggressor" state and that parts of the Donbass are under "temporary occupation".

"We will continue to pave the way for reintegration of the occupied Ukrainian lands through political and diplomatic steps", Poroshenko said on Twitter.

The move drew quick condemnation from Russian Federation.

In a grim warning, the Russian foreign ministry concluded: "Unfortunately we are witnessing the emerging situation that is fraught with unsafe escalation in Ukraine with unpredictable consequences for universal peace and security".

Moscow condemned the move, saying it could only be considered as preparation "for a new war".

The conflict in Ukraine's eastern Lugansk and Donetsk regions, together known as Donbas, started in April 2014 after government forces launched offensives to regain control of the cities and towns seized by armed groups which declared independence from Kiev.

About 10,000 people, including at least 2,000 civilians, have been killed since the fighting began, while another 1.7 million people have been forced to flee their homes.

The Minsk peace deal was introduced in 2015 to put a stop to the hostilities and end the conflict, but clashes have continued and attempts at a political settlement have stalled.

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