Staunton, January 20 – In response to the Verkhovna Rada’s adoption of a law on reintegrating the Donbass which identifies Russia as an aggressor and occupier, the self-proclaimed parliaments of the Donetsk and Luhansk Peoples Republics are being urged to adopt their own law “On the Struggle with the Ukrainian Occupation.”
Many in Moscow have denounced the Ukrainian law as an indication that Kyiv is planning to go to war against Moscow, even though an analysis of that law shows that it does not support such an accusation (dsnews.ua/politics/chto-izmenitsya-dlya-donbassa-i-kryma-10-glavnyh-momentov-zakona-19012018220000).
But action of the occupation officials being proposed shows that if Ukraine is not preparing for a new round of violence, those in the Donbass who are controlled by and act only with the approval of Moscow appear to be, thus increasing the danger that the Russian side will seek to exploit the Ukrainian law as a cover for new aggression.
In an interview with the Novorossiya news agency, Andrey Purgin, former speaker of het Peoples Assembly of the Donetsk Peoples Republic and head of the South Russian Public Initiative, describes what the DNR-LNR measure as drafted contains and thus why it could trigger more violence (novorosinform.org/703106).
According to Purgin, “the referenda which took place in 2014 supported the independence of the peoples’ republics in the administrative borders of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. Correspondingly, any violation of these borders and the occupation of the territory of the republics is an occupation.”
“Without an official declaration of war, all soldiers of the Ukrainian army and Nazi battalions are not military personnel according to international law but simply bandits illegally on the territory of the peoples’ republics.” The new DNR-LNR measure, he continues, makes the following points, all of which flow from this.
First of all, he says, the draft law specifies that “all people in the uniform of the Ukrainian military, Nazi battalions and others are bandits and this means that they all must be removed or caught and condemned in correspondence with the criminal code.”
Second, Purgin continues, it says that all Ukrainian officials and citizens “who agitate for [Kyiv’s] position are accomplices” of the military. “All of them must be arrested and convicted.”
Third, the measure maintains that both of these categories of people if they are arrested and tried by the DNR and LNR are to be stripped of their voting rights so that they cannot have an impact on the policies of the peoples’ republics.
Fourth, those so charged can escape criminal responsibility, the draft says, if they agree to “shift to the side of the DNR and LNR.”
Fifth, regarding those portions of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts under “temporary Ukrainian occupation,” the DNR-LNR legislation says that the local administrations bear total responsibility for taking care of the population and must assist in “liberating” these areas from Kyiv’s control.
And sixth, the measure specifies that the DNR and LNR now are not engaged in aggression against Ukraine but only in “freeing the republics from Ukrainian bands” and implementing the 2014 referenda.
Purgin concludes by saying that the DNR and LNR must adopt this measure as soon as possible.