(KIEV, Ukraine) -- Ukrainian lawmakers on Tuesday voted to grant greater autonomy for breakaway regions in the east and immunity for those who've taken up arms, while also integrating further with Europe.
The decision to grant autonomy is part of an effort to bring the fighting in eastern Ukraine to an end. While Tuesday's actions create further opportunity for division at the hands of Russia, the Ukrainian government also ratified a deal to further integrate itself with the European Union. That deal was opposed by the Kremlin, and was the same deal that was dismissed by the former Ukrainian president last year, prompting street protests.
U.S. State Department spokesperson Marie Harf offered congratulations to the people of Ukraine for "making history" on Tuesday. She added that the new laws approved on Tuesday, "highlight the Ukrainian government's continuing commitment to resolve the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine peacefully."
The U.S. continues to call on Russia to reciprocate and pull its military forces and equipment from inside the Ukrainian borders and end support for separatists in eastern Ukraine.
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