Victoria Nuland: Ukraine’s Parliament passes vital constitutional amendments to decentralize and de-oligarchize the state  


Kyiv, July 16, 2015. Verkhovna Rada has passed the constitutional amendments that seek to pursue the Ukrainian government’s course toward decentralization and de-oligarchization of the state. “It was very exciting to stand in the parliament and see the vibrant democracy in action; see the real debates and not fake discussions of old,” said Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.

Victoria Nuland emphasized the need for the constitutional amendments as a “protection of Ukraine from federalization”, while the amendment on the special status of some districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions was approved in compliance with Minsk agreements. “Ukraine is doing its job. There is no excuses for the other side to break the agreement,” said Nuland.

Beside constitutional changes, Nuland noted the sound unity of the parliamentary factions that allowed passing a major package of economic reforms in compliance with IMF standards, putting the country closer to unlocking the next tranche of financial assistance.

She has also refuted allegations that the United States traded its collaboration with Ukraine in exchange for the Russian support of the Iranian deal as “offensive”. “It was not in favor of the U.S. but because it was in Russia’s interest to ensure Iran does not have nuclear weapons,” said Nuland, stressing that the American support for Ukraine remains as strong as of the rest of the international community.

American delegation will be in Ukraine on July 17 to mourn 298 victims at the anniversary of the Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash. Although Victoria Nuland commented that she did not want to get ahead of the Dutch investigators, she reiterated the message of the Secretary of State John Kerry that the United States are closely cooperating with other parties involved, while all efforts should be devoted to ensure that those responsible for the crime would be brought to justice.