Moscow – Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Tuesday signed a law to enable the use of military force against Russia.
“The law is intended for Ukraine to reintegrate its two eastern-most regions,’’ Poroshenko wrote on Twitter.
Parts of those regions, which border Russia, are controlled by Russian-supported separatist groups.
According to the final text on the parliament’s website, the law enables Ukraine’s military to use force to deter armed aggression of the Russian Federation in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry in January described the law as “preparation for a new war.”
Separatists and the Ukrainian military have been battling for almost four years, while over 10,000 people have been killed in the conflict.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed the prospect of a UN peacekeeping mission in the regions with Poroshenko by phone earlier Tuesday.
According to Merkel spokesman Steffen Seibert, they also discussed over the phone how to achieve a lasting ceasefire as well as a possible prisoner swap between separatists and government troops.
The rebellion erupted in early 2014, when Ukraine ousted its pro-Russian president amid mass protests calling for closer ties with the West.
Russia has supported the rebels’ cause, with Russian President Vladimir Putin representing them in negotiations, but repeatedly rejected allegations of fueling the conflict with supplies of munitions and troops. (dpa/NAN)