Ukraine decentralization bill passes first reading

Ukraine’s parliament voted 368-265 in favor of a bill that gives more autonomy to the Russian-backed separatists in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, RFE/RL reports. President Poroshenko submitted the bill in accordance with the Minsk agreement that was supposed to stop the fighting in Eastern Ukraine. If signed into law, the bill would amend Ukraine’s constitution. It needs 300 votes in order to pass at the next session of parliament. Hundreds of activists protested the bill outside the parliament building Monday, and dozens of lawmakers opposed to the legislation temporarily blocked the parliament podium.


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