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Ukraine's Constitutional Court Approves Decentralization Bill

Ukraine's Constitutional Court has ruled that draft constitutional amendments that would decentralize power do not violate the country's constitution.

The Deputy Chairman of the Constitutional Court, Vasyl Bryntsev, said on July 31 that the draft law on constitutional amendments "conforms with the requirements of Articles 157 and 158 of the Ukrainian Constitution" and are "not directed against the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine."

Bryntsev also said "the peculiarities of the local self-government in some areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions will be defined by a separate law."

On July 16, Ukrainian lawmakers voted to send President Petro Poroshenko’s proposed constitutional amendments to the Constitutional Court for review.

According to the draft amendments, "a special law will regulate peculiarities of local self-government” in the districts which are being held by Russian-backed separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk regions in eastern Ukraine.

Poroshenko submitted the bill to parliament on July 15 after pressure from Western leaders to grant those areas some self-rule powers as promised in February's cease-fire deal that was agreed in Minsk.

The separatists insist that special status of the districts they control should be mentioned in the constitution.

Based on reporting by UNIAN and Interfax