Olena Sotnyk: “MPs gave the President maximum powers; now it all depends on how he will use them”

According to Samopomich deputy Olena Sotnyk, it is likely that one day we will see the key importance of yesterday’s law on ensuring state sovereignty in the occupied territories in history textbooks.

“This is the only time when the Ukrainian government managed to recognize the Russian Federation as the occupier and aggressor. However, unfortunately, apart from this, the law does not really offer any specific mechanisms for the restoration of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine,” the MP notes.

“It looks like the President says to all of us, “If you want to recognize the Russian aggression and the occupation of the territories, then give me the powers”. Now the President can use the Armed Forces at his discretion, can determine which territories are occupied, while the Cabinet will manage trade with these territories.

Therefore, how the President will later dispose of his excessive unconstitutional powers – is his responsibility. It is up to him how to use these powers – either in order to restore territorial integrity or to usurp power,” the deputy notes.

Another key mistake of the country present in this law is the fact that it differentiates the issue of restoring the territorial integrity of Ukraine in Donbas and in the Crimea. “By drawing a line between the issues of Crimea and Donbas the government plays exclusively within the framework of the Russian scenario. Samopomich has always insisted that these territories should be together, because there is one and the same way of returning them.”

In addition, there is no exact date of the beginning of the occupation. “This means that both Ukraine as a state and our people will have problems when we will address the court asking to determine the Russian Federation responsible for the occupation and demanding compensation for all losses. These are losses worth of billions. When we return these territories back to Ukraine – and I have no doubt that we will – Ukraine will not manage to restore the damages on its own. And I consider it unacceptable that Ukrainians will have to pay for what Russia has done out of their own pockets through taxes. If there were a specific date of the beginning of the occupation, this would give us an opportunity to defend our rights in international and Ukrainian courts,” the MP underlines.

“This law is also a challenge for the Cabinet of Ministers,” continues Olena Sotnyk. “It is the government that is entrusted with the function of transporting goods across the contact line. There is a danger that this regulation means the restoration of the blood trade. But if the Cabinet adopts a decision on the restoration of the trade with the occupied territories, the responsibility for this will lie with concrete people – the Prime Minister, the Minister of Defence, the Minister of Internal Affairs, and those who will be engaged in the preparation of such a decision. Let’s see if these people will be ready for their political suicide.”

Summing up, Olena Sotnyk reminds that for two and a half years Samopomich has been demanding from the authority to recognize the fact that we are at war, and that Russia is the aggressor. Samopomich has been doing so in various ways –through pressure, proposals, specific bills.

“This law adopted yesterday partially ensures such a recognition. And I think this parliament could not have done more. It’s hard not to vote for a bill which speaks of the things for which we have been fighting for more than two years. And for this Verkhovna Rada this is already a big step,” sums up the deputy.

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