Semenukha: “Parliament’s decision to recognize Russia as the aggressor is a too weak and frail step forward”

In the opinion of Roman Semenukha, people’s deputy of the Samopomich Union, the law on securing the state sovereignty of Ukraine in the temporarily occupied territories, which was adopted today, finally officially calls Russia the aggressor, however, it also retains huge risks. Most importantly, it does not call the war a war, and therefore does not protect the soldiers who have been protecting Ukraine since 2014 from the trial under the laws of peacetime.

“Today’s discussion in the parliament reminded me of a discussion that took place a hundred years ago, when Hrushevskyi was convincing Petliura and the Central Council that the Ukrainian People’s Republic would win the war by diplomatic means. Back then the deputies were deciding whether to declare war on Russia, when Chernihiv, Poltava, Hadiach, Kharkiv had been already occupied by Soviet Bolshevik Russia.

Unfortunately, today’s decision of the Verkhovna Rada can be called the decision of a Little Russia. In the fourth year of the war, the Verkhovna Rada has not yet managed to do the main thing – to recognize the fact we at war,” Roman Semenukha notes.

The MP also draws attention to a number of other controversial things in this law.

First of all, apart from the preamble, there is no mention of the Crimea and Sevastopol in the text of the law. “Would not it be wise to solve one and the same problem with the help of one law and to determine the status of the temporarily occupied territories – of both the Crimea and Donbas – since one and the same enemy occupied these territories in the same way,” he notes.

Secondly, Roman Semenukha emphasizes that the law does not give the date of the beginning of the war in Donbas. According to many experts and international lawyers, this might be a problem, because citizens of Ukraine will have to sue their own state for compensation of losses caused by actions and crimes committed by the Russian Federation.

Thirdly, the commander of the joint forces is given the right to determine the list of goods and the procedure for their crossing the border between Ukraine and the temporarily occupied territories at his own discretion. “I am convinced that we will soon see the authorities trying to restore the trade with the occupation regime that had been there for several years until the adoption of the relevant decision of the National Security and Defence Council in March 2017, which happened largely due to the pressure of the society and ATO veterans, who blocked the blood trade on their own,” the MP noted.

And last but not least: this law contradicts the Constitution of Ukraine, since it allows the President to use the Armed Forces of Ukraine without the consent of the parliament.

“At one point all leaders of states might be tempted to use the armed forces not only to repel external aggression, but also against their own people. In 2013-2014, Viktor Yanukovych was repeatedly advised to use the army to suppress the uprising at Maidan. However, this was never done for one reason – the previous parliament did not have enough votes for such a decision.

Let us recall that when there was a terrorist attack in France, their president immediately appealed to MPs, and within a day the French parliament consented to the president’s initiative to use the armed forces in order to ensure the protection of the citizens and their rights in a constitutional way. Therefore, if the President wants to exercise his powers to use the Armed Forces of Ukraine, this should only be done after the consent of the Verkhovna Rada, “the MP emphasizes.

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