Ukraine ratifies agreement with EU, grants autonomy to eastern regions News
Ukraine ratifies agreement with EU, grants autonomy to eastern regions

[JURIST] Ukraine’s parliament [official website] on Tuesday ratified [press release] an association agreement [text] between Ukraine [BBC backgrounder] and the EU, furthering its goal of reforming the country according to European standards and values. The agreement, “On Ratification of the Association Agreement between Ukraine, on the one part, and the European Union, the European Atomic Energy Community and their Member States, on the other,” was signed by the parties [JURIST reports] earlier this year and focuses on economic, governmental, social and educational reform in Ukraine, which, according to the chairman of the Ukrainian parliament, Oleksandr Turchynov [BBC profile], “will … change the history of Ukraine” [press release] and create for its citizens “a dream of European unity.” The parliament also, as part of a peace deal, granted autonomy [press release] to the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk by adopting a law that gives those regions three years to organize their local governments. Since April, armed pro-Russian separatists have taken control [JURIST report] over much of these regions.

Ukraine’s struggle [BBC timeline] to sever its ties with the Russian Federation and become a member state of the EU has been a protracted, arduous battle that the UN claims [JURIST report] has taken more than 3,000 lives since April. The civil and political unrest [JURIST report] ensued shortly after Ukrainian self-rule referendums in the Russophone communities of the Crimean [JURIST backgrounder] peninsula overwhelmingly supported succession from the Ukraine. Russian troops soon moved [JURIST report] into the eastern portion of the peninsula, declaring Crimea part of Russia to which the EU responded with sanctions against several Russian officials.