The self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk republics offered Kiyiv to declare them ‘separate regions with special status’, but consider them’ an integral part of Ukraine’, mk.ru reports with reference to the joint statement made by representatives of DPR and LPR Denis Pushilin and Vladislav Deinego.
They also proposed an amendment to Ukrainian constitution that would guarantee that the current heads of the republics will not be removed from their positions by Kyiv authorities.
“Senior officials heading legislative power on the territory of certain districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions at the date of the introduction of this amendments to the constitution of Ukraine will continue exercising their powers until such powers are terminated in accordance with a procedure established by legislation of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions that hold special status,” pro-Kremlin news agency Sputnik quotes the statement.
The so called republics are also striving for giving a special status to local governments of the two ‘separate regions’and establish their bodies of public order. At that, they expect local governments to be granted with the right to have their own armed forces in the form of ‘public police’.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s defence minister Stepan Poltorak on Monday accused pro-Russian rebels backed up by Moscow’s forces of assembling a 40,000-strong army sufficient for a ‘mid-sized European state’. It could muster more than 550 tanks and an arsenal of other heavy weapons, he added.
“The combined size of the Russian armed forces and illegal armed formations… stands at more than 42,500,” AFP quotes Poltorak as saying.
According to Viktor Yahun, Deputy Chairman of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), Russian mercenaries make up 60% of the total number of illegal armed groups in eastern Ukraine.