Ukrainian President urges unity for constitutional change

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko calls support from political forces to make amendment on country’s constitution

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko holds a flag brought from eastern regions of the country during his speech on the eve of the Independence Day, in Kiev, Ukraine, August 23, 2015.

Ahead of Ukraine's independence day, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has called on all political actors in the country to back his plan for constitutional change to halt separatist conflict in the country’s east.   

Speaking on the flag-raising ceremony, Poroshenko tried to convince his political allies to vote without any doubts for constitutional amendments which form a special status to fight with Russian backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.

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

"My direct call to all political forces, in the first instance to those who are together in the parliamentary coalition, is to come together now for the sake of Ukraine," Poroshenko said during his speech, referring to the “Russian aggressor.”

Poroshenko uses the “Russian aggressor” term for describing pro-Russian separatists who are fighting to create a separate state in eastern Ukraine.

Initially, the proposed constitutional amendments will be voted on in the Ukrainian parliament on Aug. 31, amid political division among pro-Western coalition.

The constitutional change needs at least 226 votes from the parliament to pass a second reading before the finalisation.  

Following the annexation of Crimea in March 2014, more than 6,500 people have lost their lives so far in the conflict between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian separatist in eastern Ukraine.  

Ukrainian authorities have tightened security measures, mobilising more forces throughout the country on the eve of the country's Independence Day, which will be commemorated on Aug. 24.

"We achieved victory under our flag more than once, we'll protect our independence for sure, our freedom, our dignity. On the verge of the Independence Day,” Poroshenko posted on his social media accounts on Wednesday.

TRTWorld and agencies