KIEV, April 7 (RAPSI) – Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada on Tuesday will review a draft bill that proposes more severe penalties for separatism, acting president Aleksandr Turchinov declared in a public address on Monday.
Turchinov also said that the parliament will review the possibility of banning certain political parties and movements.
The statement comes on the tail of amped up pro-Russia protests in the eastern provinces of Ukraine, where protesters took over offices of the national security service in Donetsk and Lugansk, as well as the regional administration headquarters in Kharkov
Calls for secession have been spreading across Ukraine’s mainly Russian-speaking eastern regions following the Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada’s (Parliament) impeachment of Viktor Yanukovych and reversion to the country’s 2004 constitution in February.
Protesters in eastern Ukraine, who have refused to recognize the legitimacy of the new authorities, have been gathering since March, demanding referendums on the status of their regions.
Earlier in March, the south-eastern region of Crimea moved for independence from Ukraine in the aftermath of escalating clashes in Kiev and the flight of Viktor Yanukovych from the country. Crimea held a referendum on breaking away from Ukraine with 93% of voters backing independence from Ukraine and accession to Russia.