Ukraine parl. officially declares pro-Russians as terrorists

Ukraine parl. officially declares pro-Russians as terrorists

HomeEuropeMore Tue Jan 27, 2015 11:7PM

The Ukrainian parliament has officially declared the pro-Russian forces of eastern Ukraine as terrorists.

On Tuesday, the Ukrainian parliament declared the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk as terrorist organizations, saying Kiev will no more hold peace negotiations with the regions’ representatives.

Kiev has called the pro-Russian forces of eastern Ukraine terrorists since the beginning of the conflict in 2014. However, the official designation of the parliament would make pro-Russians subject to the counter-terrorism law, allowing the Ukrainian government to block their bank accounts, restrict their movement in the Ukrainian territory, and prevent them from contributing to the peace talks.

Back in September 2014, the representatives of Ukraine, Russia, and the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk inked a ceasefire deal in the Belarusian capital, Minsk. The truce has been almost daily violated by both the Ukrainian military and pro-Russia forces in eastern Ukraine.

The Ukrainian parliament also designated Russia an “aggressor state,” calling on the international community to confirm its decision.

“Parliament recognizes the Russian Federation as undertaking state aggression against Ukraine and calls on Ukraine’s international partners not to provide for impunity for those responsible for crimes against humanity,” read part of the statement by the Ukrainian parliament.

Russia’s reaction

Kremlin slammed the Ukrainian parliament’s statement as idiotic.

“The idiocy is getting stronger, which doesn’t surprise me at all,” said Sergei Ivanov, the Russian presidential chief of staff, on Tuesday.

Earlier in the day, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned against the adoption of double standard policies in dealing with global issues, saying an example of such an approach could be seen in the developments in Ukraine’s restive east.

Referring to high civilian deaths in the conflict in Ukraine, Putin said double standards and indifference toward the fate of others are destructive.

Ukraine’s lawsuit against pro-Russians

On Sunday, Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council asked the Kiev government to file a lawsuit in the Hague Tribunal against pro-Russia forces for their “crimes against humanity.”

The council “has instructed the cabinet to start a procedure of filing lawsuits with the Hague Tribunal regarding the crimes against humanity, committed by the terrorists against Ukrainian citizens in 2014-15,” said the council in a statement.

The lawsuit will also urge the international court to recognize the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine as “terrorist organizations.”

Mariupol deadly rocket attack

The recent decision of the Ukrainian parliament came three days after a rocket hit the residential areas of the southeastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, killing at least 30 civilians and wounding 100 others.

Kiev blames the pro-Russian forces for the deadly attack.

Source of conflict

The Moscow-Kiev relations have been extremely tense in recent months. Kiev and its Western allies accuse Moscow of supporting pro-Russia forces in eastern Ukraine, saying the Russian intervention poses a security threat to Ukraine and all other neighboring states. Russia has categorically denied the allegations.

The two mainly Russian-speaking regions of Donetsk and Luhansk have been the scene of deadly clashes between pro-Russia protesters and the Ukrainian army since Kiev’s military operation began in April 2014 in a bid to crush the protests.

Violence intensified in May 2014 after the two flashpoint regions held local referendums in which their residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence from Ukraine and joining the Russian Federation.

The fighting has left more than 5,100 people killed and over 1.5 million displaced, the United Nations says.

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