Ukraine passes draft bill to grant east regions more autonomy

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 16, 2015 7:29 AM

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine's parliament approved a draft law on Thursday to grant two separatist regions greater autonomy, a first step towards meeting the demands of a ceasefire agreement on the status of the pro-Russian self-styled "people's republics".

President Petro Poroshenko submitted the bill to parliament after coming under pressure from Western leaders to grant the regions some powers of self-rule as part of the ceasefire deal agreed in the Belarussian capital Minsk in February.

If the courts decide the law is constitutional, at least 300 of the 450 parliamentary deputies will need to back the bill in its final reading. The next session will be in the autumn after a summer recess.

(Reporting by Natalia Zinets and Alessandra Prentice, editing by Elizabeth Piper and Alison Williams)