The pitfalls of the law on reintegration of the temporarily occupied territories

In a nutshell: the President has rewritten the Constitution of Ukraine and removed the occupied Ukrainian territories from the control of the parliament.

The document will result in the restoration of trade with the occupied territories, will weaken the Ukrainian statehood (will concentrate all power in the hands of the President) and will endanger the Ukrainian people even more.

This is a dangerous policy that plays against human rights, against the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

The President’s bill does not specify the dates of the occupation, the occupied territories; it does not recognize Russia as the aggressor. Meanwhile the powers of the President of Ukraine are expanded.

  1. The bill consists of the preamble and the main part. The preamble is written out in great detail, with references to international norms (the Hague Convention and so on); it states that Russia is the one to compensate for all damage since it is the aggressor country. However, the preamble is only a declarative statement. It is  the main part that raises questions.
  2. The draft law does not specify the dates of the beginning of the occupation of Donetsk and Luhansk regions; only February 20, 2014 is mentioned as the beginning of the occupation of the Crimea.

Without the fixed dates in the text of the bill various manipulations are possible, which will make it impossible for individuals to bear responsibility for their crimes against the state.

In addition to this, the lack of the date of the occupation’s beginning will not allow the citizens who have suffered material damage as a result of the invasion to effectively claim a compensation for the losses inflicted on them.

The Samopomich faction suggests determining April 7, 2014 as the beginning of the occupation in Donetsk region, and April 27, 2014 – in Luhansk. These are the dates when the relevant regional state administrations were seized by terrorists, which marked the loss of Ukrainian state representation in these territories.

  1. Trade with the occupied territories cannot be carried out under the patronage of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. This will negatively affect the morale of servicemen when they see that they actually secure the trade with the occupier that shells them every day.
  2. Support for trade with the occupied Donbas runs counter to the very concept of imposing anti-Russian sanctions aimed at making further support for the war in Donbas unfavorable for Russia.

However, what does this bill offer us? At a time when we demand from Western countries to prolong economic sanctions against Russia, which causes significant economic losses for them, we ourselves are trying to maintain trade with Russia in the territories occupied by its henchmen.

Won’t such double standards affect the solidarity of Western countries towards Ukraine? Why should someone give up profitable trade because of us when we ourselves are not able to do this?

Viktoriya Vojtsitska
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