The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine unveils a draft law on de-occupation of Donbas

Oleksandr Turchynov, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC) presented an idea for the law on the de-occupation of the Donbas which supposed to become an alternative to the anti-terrorist operation (ATO), Hromadske reported.

The preamble notes that the legal regime of the ATO, introduced in April 2014, made it possible to stop the expansion of Russian aggression, and kept it localized in the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces. It also made it possible to hold presidential, parliamentary and local elections. At the same time, in its scale, character and time of implementation, the anti-terrorist operation is inadequate for the liberation of the occupied territories. This is why the necessity has arisen to create a new legal framework for dealing with this task.

An important component of the future bill will be that of granting the president the right to use the Armed Forces of Ukraine and other military formations in the Luhansk and Donetsk provinces. Current legislation specifies two reasons for using the forces, namely a state of war, and the ATO.

“At the start of Russia’s aggression, legislatively we had only two possibilities for fighting back, namely the ATO format and the introduction of martial law. We could not introduce martial law then, because it restricted democratic procedures. In particular, it did not allow for the possibility of holding elections. And it was important for us to hold presidential, parliamentary and local elections. A format for carrying out military actions is now being provided,” observed Andriy Parubiy, Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada.

Operational headquarters will be created for those directly involved in supervising matters of national security. The president will appoint its leaders.

Among the suggestions which are being discussed is that of granting the headquarters the right to determine the list of goods which are prohibited and permitted to pass between the territories of Ukraine and the temporarily occupied territories. Currently the movement of such goods is prohibited by the NSDC’s decision from March 15 this year.

At the same time, in such territory there will be prohibition of activity subject to state regulation (licensing, receiving approval documentation, certificates etc.), economic activity, the import and / or export of military goods, and restrictions on railway, motorway, maritime, riverine, ferry and airborne traffic. It will also be prohibited to use state resources, including natural, financial and credit resources, and to make money transfers.

Citizens of Ukraine have the right to free and unobstructed entry into the occupied territory, and to exit the territory through entry-exit control points, provided they present proper identity documents which confirm their Ukrainian citizenship.

“The goals of the state policy on the restoration of state sovereignty over the temporarily occupied territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces are: liberating the occupied territories and restoring the constitutional system in all of Ukraine’s territories; protecting the rights, freedoms and legal interests of Ukrainian citizens who are suffering as a result of Russian aggression; reinforcing the independence, state sovereignty and integrity of the independent, sovereign, democratic, legal and social Ukrainian state,” the document states.

Turchynov said previously that Ukraine needs to end the ATO and transition to a new format of national defense against Russia’s hybrid warfare.

President Petro Poroshenko explained that a bill has been developed to ensure the reintegration of the Donbas, envisaging a number of measures to return the occupied territories and determining their legal status.

According to him, Turchynov’s statement should not be construed as an attempt to transition into martial law.

  Donbas, War in Ukraine, ATO, Turchynov