Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, endorsed a presidential draft law on Thursday to extend the special status of Donbass until December 31, 2019.
The draft law, which was submitted to the parliament by Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko on October 3 and marked as "urgent," was backed by a total of 245 MPs.
The document says that the law’s implementation "will contribute to creating the necessary conditions to continue the process of peacefully setting the situation in certain areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions and therefore ensuring the restoration of sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine."
Ukraine adopted a law providing special status to certain areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions in October 2014 for a three-year term. The document is crucial for finding a political solution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine. The Donbass republics have said many times that Kiev’s refusal to extend the law will mean a refusal to implement the Minsk Agreements.
On October 6, 2017, Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, passed a law on creating conditions for peacefully resolving the situation in certain areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, which extended the special status of Donbass for another year. However, Kiev amended the law to ensure that it will only come into force after Ukrainian authorities gain full control of the areas in question and "all the illegal armed units and military equipment" are withdrawn. The law on the special status of Donbass expires on October 6, 2018.