AP Radio AP Radio News:

Feb 20, 12:03 PM EST

Ukraine's president signs bill on Russia-backed regions

Latest News
Thousands march in memory of slain Russian opposition leader

EU and Russia vie for influence in volatile Balkans region

Charged 'Putin's chef' runs news sites along with troll army

Russia: Embassy coke bust shows our mission's strength

Aide to Russian opposition leader sentenced to 30 days

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) -- Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has signed a bill aimed at reintegrating the territory in the country's east controlled by Russia-backed separatists.

The bill passed last month designates the areas in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions as "temporarily occupied" by "aggressor country" Russia. It envisages the use of military force to get them back under Ukraine's control.

The conflict in the east erupted after Russia's annexation of Crimea and has killed more than 10,000 since April 2014. A 2015 peace agreement signed in Minsk has helped reduce hostilities, but clashes continue.

The bill signed Tuesday contains no reference to the Minsk deal brokered by France and Germany that obliged Ukraine to pass legislation offering broad autonomy to the separatist regions and amnesty to rebels. Most Ukrainian political forces reject that.

© 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.