The bill to reintegrate the Donbas will entail the introduction of the concept “Operation on Defense of Ukraine” instead of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO). This was announced by Deputy Minister for the temporarily occupied territories Yuriy Hrymchak in an interview with Radio Svoboda.
When asked to clarify whether the word “war” would be used for the operation, he responded in the negative, explaining that the term would mean declaring war on Russia with all the corresponding consequences.
On June 13, NSDC (National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine) Secretary Oleksandr Turchynov said in an interview that it is necessary to end the ATO and transition to a new form of national defense against Russia’s hybrid war. He said that the relevant bill was being worked on and would later be presented to the president and introduced in the Verkhovna Rada.
Commenting on Turchynov’s statement, President Petro Poroshenko clarified that the bill would concern the reintegration of the Donbas and would entail a number of measures to take back the occupied territories. It would also determine their legal status.
There were plans for the bill to be considered at the NSDC session on July 10, but the matter was postponed.
On September 4, the president’s representative to the Verkhovna Rada and MP from the Petro Poroshenko Bloc Irina Lutsenko announced that the law on the reintegration of the Donbas was entirely ready, aside from the matter of bringing a peacekeeping mission into the region. The matter of peacekeepers is still being discussed.
“The key assertions which have been spelled out are: Russia is called the aggressor – this is what our partners require from us, what Ukraine needs, and the reason the European and international democratic community are introducing sanctions, which are finally stopping the aggressor. We are introducing the concept of self-defense according to the UN Charter: this will give us the ability to move away from the anti-terrorist operation concept and transition to the legitimate use of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the special forces and the National Guard of Ukraine,” Lutsenko explained.
The document will be introduced in the Verkhovna Rada after final ratification by the NSDC.