KIEV, Ukraine – Ukraine's parliament has passed a bill on the "occupied" territories in the country's east controlled by Russia-backed separatists.
The bill approved Thursday after raucous debates 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 killed over 10,000 since April 2014. A 2015 peace agreement has helped reduce hostilities, but clashes continued.
The bill contains no reference to the Minsk peace deal brokered by France and Germany that obliged Ukraine to pass legislation offering a broad autonomy to the separatist regions and a sweeping amnesty to the rebels. Most Ukrainian political forces have strongly opposed the idea.