Thursday, September 18, 2014

Russia Praises Ukraine's Autonomy Law for Rebel Areas

Ukrainian Nationalist Party supporters burn torches Wednesday outside the presidential office in Kiev to protest autonomy for rebel-held areas. European Pressphoto Agency

President Poroshenko Defends Law, Critics in Kiev Call it Unpatriotic

By Paul Sonne
Updated Sept. 17, 2014 6:49 p.m. ET

KIEV, Ukraine—Russia praised a Ukrainian law granting self-governance powers to separatist-held areas of Ukraine, a measure that faces a challenge from some politicians in Kiev who call it a giveaway to Moscow.

The Foreign Ministry in Moscow on Wednesday described the new Ukrainian law—which Kiev agreed to pass during recent cease-fire negotiations—as a "step in the right direction."

The comments came as a signal to Ukraine—and the Russia-backed separatists—of Moscow's desire to keep the negotiations on track, despite continued, sporadic violence in eastern Ukraine. Formalizing control for the rebels over part of Ukraine would give Moscow a tool to rein in Kiev's European ambitions.

Moscow also warned that any Ukrainian attempts to backtrack on the legislation risked reviving the deadly conflict.

(More here.)

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