Moscow: Russia has slammed the Ukrainian leadership for diverting the Minsk peace agreements reached in February between Kiev and Donbass insurgents.
The bill on the "special status" of Donbass territories under the control of insurgents, which was submitted to the parliament Monday by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, constitutes " abrupt diversion from the Minsk agreements and the entire concept set in Minsk," accused Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Xinhua reported.
"The law on the 'special status' has already been passed, but this bill is trying to reinterpret it and to set conditions for elections in southeastern regions, which will probably be held without the participation of the current leaderships of the self- proclaimed People's Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk."
"The priority now is to sort out the problematic, difficult situation emerged (after the submission of the bill)," Interfax news agency quoted Lavrov as saying.
Later on Monday, the Ukrainian parliament passed the bill, which ruled that only after holding local elections under Ukrainian legislation would certain districts in southeastern Ukraine be granted more autonomy under the "special status" law.
On Saturday, Poroshenko submitted to the parliament another bill outlining the list of areas that would be granted the " special status".
In September 2014, Ukrainian parliament approved a law on the " special status" of some areas in Lugansk and Donetsk regions, transferring more economic, financial and administrative powers to their regional governments as a concession to rebels.
Lavrov also blamed Kiev for putting a spoke in the wheel of the contact group working on the implementation of the Minsk deal.
"Through daily contacts with our colleagues in France and Germany, we're discussing the necessity to send a strong signal to Kiev, as the Ukrainian government is hindering the work of the Contact Group on the implementation of political, humanitarian and socio-economic aspects of the Minsk agreements," Lavrov said.
The minister stressed that it is time to urgently intensify the process within the framework of the Contact Group to implement the Minsk accords and to strictly comply with the step sequence, while calling on France and Germany to reinforce the process of unconditional implementation of the Minsk agreements.
Leaders of Normandy Quartet comprising Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany agreed on Feb. 12 to coordinate with leaders of the independence-seeking Donbass the roadmap to a permanent ceasefire and political solution to the crisis in southeastern Ukraine.