Ukraine Extends Donbas Special Status Law By One Year

By RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service

KYIV -- Ukrainian lawmakers have approved a bill extending the law on the special status of local self-governance in areas of eastern Ukraine until December 31, 2021.

The bill was approved by 304 lawmakers at a parliament session, on December 15. Lawmakers of the Holos (Voice) and Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) political parties did not take part in the vote.

The legislation was first adopted in September 2014 for a period of three years after Russia incited an insurgency in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, generally known as the Donbas, where more than 13,200 people have been killed in the ongoing conflict since.

Weeks before inciting separatism in the region, Russia forcibly annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula after sending in troops and staging a referendum that was deemed illegitimate by more than 100 countries.

The law has been prolonged three times since then and was set to expire on December 31, 2020.