Eastern Ukraine’s regions, which are controlled by pro-Russian rebels, have been granted self-ruled, as well as an amnesty for the fighters themselves.
The measures voted by Ukraine’s parliament are in line with the September 5 cease-fire agreement signed by President Petro Poroshenko.
The European and Ukrainian parliaments have also voted to ratify a major EU-Ukraine association agreement.
The rebels have been battling Ukrainian government forces since their seizure of eastern regions bordering Russia.
Ukraine and the West have accused Russia of backing the rebels with soldiers and heavy weapons. Russia denies doing so.
According to the UN, at least 3,000 people have been killed in the five-month conflict and more than 310,000 internally displaced in Ukraine.
The amnesty affects rebels in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, but does not cover the shooting down of the MH17 passenger plane in July.
Western leaders believe rebels shot down the Malaysia Airlines jet with a Russian missile – a charge the rebels and Russia deny.
Rebels accused of other “grave” crimes will not be covered by the new amnesty either.
Eastern Ukraine’s regions, which are controlled by pro-Russian rebels, have been granted self-ruled, as well as an amnesty for the fighters themselves
The rebels have controlled most of Donetsk and Luhansk regions since April. They launched their uprising soon after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula.
On September 16, there was heavy shelling around the government-held airport in Donetsk, despite a fragile cease-fire.
Meanwhile Russia is preparing to send extra troops to Crimea, Russian media reported.
They quoted Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu as saying that deploying “proper and self-sufficient forces” there was a top priority in light of the “presence of foreign military in the immediate vicinity of our borders”.
The EU-Ukraine agreement ratified on Tuesday lies at the root of Ukraine’s crisis.
It was President Viktor Yanukovych’s refusal to sign the deal in November last year that triggered mass protests and his eventual fall from power.
The votes ratifying the agreement took place simultaneously, with a live video link-up between the parliaments in Brussels and Kiev.
Both President Petro Poroshenko and the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, called it a historic day.
However, negotiations with Russia last week led to the free-trade part of the agreement being postponed until 2016.
There are fears in Ukraine that Russia will still try to scupper the deal.
The amnesty law passed by the Ukrainian parliament means pro-Russian separatists taken prisoner in the fighting should now be released.
Rebels holding government buildings in the east are now supposed to leave them, hand over captured Ukrainian soldiers and other prisoners and surrender their weapons.
However, many of the rebels are demanding full independence, and speak of creating a new state called “Novorossiya”, something Russian President Vladimir Putin has also mentioned in speeches.
Andre Purgin, a rebel leader in the eastern city of Donetsk, told AFP news agency that the eastern region “no longer has anything to do with Ukraine”.
“Ukraine is free to adopt any law it wants,” he is quoted as saying.
“But we are not planning any federalism with Ukraine.”
Andre Purgin nonetheless said the legislation was a “positive signal because it marks Kiev’s return to reality”.
President Petro Poroshenko said the proposals would guarantee the “sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence” of Ukraine, while paving the way for decentralization.
Ukraine association agreement (officially called the AA/DCFTA) would make Ukraine compliant with EU standards in the areas of human rights, security and arms control, and would remove trade barriers.
The pact has been signed, but Russia opposes the free-trade provisions, saying its market could be flooded with cheap EU goods shipped via Ukraine.
Until 2016 Ukraine will maintain its existing restrictions on imports from the EU, while enjoying full access to the EU market for its own exports.
In return, Russia has pledged to maintain favorable trade rules in place for Ukraine as an ex-Soviet republic.
Yet the crisis has severely hit Russia-Ukraine trade ties, with the two neighbors imposing economic sanctions on each other.
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Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko has said he will sign a controversial association agreement with the EU on June 27.
Petro Poroshenko’s elected pro-Russian predecessor, Viktor Yanukovych, was overthrown in February after refusing to sign the deal at the last moment.
Heavy fighting has erupted between troops and pro-Russian rebels in Donetsk region despite talk of a truce.
President Petro Poroshenko has said he will sign a controversial association agreement with the EU on June 27
Meanwhile, NATO says Russia has moved troops back to the Ukrainian border.
Petro Poroshenko was elected president in May on a pro-EU platform after six months of political turmoil.
Since Viktor Yanukovych fled Kiev, Russia has annexed part of Ukraine’s territory, Crimea, and has also been accused of stoking the rebellion in the east.
According to a UN estimate reported this week, at least 356 people, including 257 civilians, have been killed in eastern Ukraine since May 7.
Political parts of the association agreement were signed in March by Ukraine’s interim government.
Petro Poroshenko made the announcement as he was replacing three senior officials in Kiev.
European Union leaders have signed an agreement on closer relations with Ukraine, in a show of support following Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
Ukraine’s interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and the EU signed the deal in Brussels.
Pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovych’s abandonment of the deal had led to deadly protests, his removal and Russia taking over Crimea.
On Friday, Russia’s upper house unanimously approved the treaty on Crimea joining the Russian Federation.
The EU Association Agreement is designed to give Ukraine’s interim leadership economic and political support.
EU President Herman Van Rompuy said in a statementthat the accord “recognizes the aspirations of the people of Ukraine to live in a country governed by values, by democracy and the rule of law”.
Ukraine’s interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and the EU signed the deal in Brussels (photo AP)
The move comes hours after the EU broadened its sanctions over Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
It added 12 individuals to an earlier list of 21 who now face asset freezes and travel bans.
The US on Thursday added to its own list and also targeted Rossiya Bank.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday the international sanctions were “absolutely unlawful”.
However, Russian President Vladimir Putin said after talks with officials in Moscow that Russia would not take an immediate reciprocal action.
“I think we should refrain from taking steps in response for now,” Interfax quoted Vladimir Putin as saying.
However, Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev said Ukraine should pay back $11 billion in gas discounts as an agreement linked to the lease of the Sevastopol naval base in Crimea was now invalid.
Two credit rating agencies have now downgraded Russia’s outlook to negative from stable.
In Moscow, all 155 senators present in the upper house of parliament voted to ratify the treaty incorporating Crimea into the Russian Federation.
President Vladimir Putin is expected to complete the process by signing the treaty at a ceremony later on Friday.
Ukrainian riot police have forcefully dispersed hundreds of EU-deal protesters in Kiev, beating some with truncheons, witnesses say.
Protest organizer Sergei Milnichenko said tear gas had also been used as police moved in at about 04:30 on Saturday.
It followed fresh rallies against President Viktor Yanukovych’s refusal to sign an EU association agreement.
Unconfirmed reports said a number of people had been hurt.
Ukrainian riot police have forcefully dispersed hundreds of EU-deal protesters in Kiev
Police said they had decided to clear Independence Square after “a number of incidents”, Interfax Ukraine news agency reported.
It was not clear what incidents they were referring to.
More than 1,000 people, most of them students, were in the square when police moved in, activists said.
Witnesses said ambulances were on the scene and some demonstrators were seen bleeding from their heads and arms.
Opposition MP Andriy Shevchenko tweeted that dozens of people had been hurt and at least 33 taken into police custody.
Reuters news agency said the injured included one of its cameramen and a photographer, who was left bloodied by blows to the head.
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