Ukrainian parliament approves bills related to rebel regions

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KIEV, Ukraine – The Ukrainian parliament has passed hotly-disputed bills regarding the rebel-controlled eastern territories following debates interrupted by scuffles.

The bills submitted by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko have drawn fierce criticism from some lawmakers. Opponents of the bills argued that they don't assert Ukraine's control of the eastern territories strongly enough and swarmed the speaker's platform Thursday, causing the session to be adjourned.

The parliament on Friday finally passed the bills, which refer to elements of the 2015 peace deal for eastern Ukraine brokered by France and Germany.

The agreement signed in the Belarusian capital Minsk has helped reduce fighting between Russia-backed separatists and Ukrainian troops, but clashes have continued and efforts to reach a political settlement have stalled. Over 10,000 people have been killed in fighting since April 2014.

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