Turchynov: Ukraine must transition to a new format of defense against Russia’s hybrid aggression

Secretary of the Defense and Security Council of Ukraine (NSDC), Oleksandr Turchynov believes that Ukraine needs to end the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) and transition to a new format of national defense against Russia’s hybrid war.

“Military actions have been going on in the east of our country for three years already, and they have escalated both in duration and in the massive format of the military operation (ATO). At the same time, it must be pointed out that the anti-terrorist operation has carried out a great deal of important tasks. In the context of the ATO we have stopped the aggressor, we have been able to carry out presidential, parliamentary and local elections, and we have also liberated a significant portion of the occupied territory of Ukraine… at the same time, the time has come to transition to a new format of national defense,” Turchynov said.

According to him, the current Ukrainian legislation envisages two basic cases for which military use of the Armed Forces is authorized, namely declaring war, and the anti-terrorist operation.

“Despite widespread opinion, according to our legislation, introducing a military position only implies the presence of a special legal regime in the country, or in individual regions, and does not grant the automatic right to use the AFU and other military formations,” the NSDC secretary explained, adding that the legislation was formulated on the basis of 20th century ideas about classic war, and does not take into account the necessity of opposing the hybrid aggression which Russia is using against Ukraine.

In this regard, according to him the time has come to determine a new format which will make it possible to protect Ukraine effectively from the hybrid methods of war used by Russia.

“The time has come not simply to recognize several areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions as occupied, but clearly, on a legislative level, to determine the state policy regarding their liberation. An effective technology of national defense is necessary, and for this it is legislatively necessary to provide the president the right to use the Ukrainian Armed Forces and other military formations against the hybrid aggression from Russia,” the NSDC secretary emphasized.

He also pointed out that in the conflict zone it is difficult to make a permanently active operation headquarters with broad powers for complex management of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, all the power structures, and also for military and civil administration.

This being the case, the NSDC secretary stressed that such an approach would “only strengthen the foundation of the Minsk agreements, because their implementation is impossible without dealing with matters of security, and without liberating the occupied Ukrainian territory”.

“This is a very serious matter, requiring discussion in the professional expert environment. The refined draft law ‘to re-establish the state sovereignty of Ukraine over the temporarily occupied territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions’ will be presented to the president, after which, I hope, it will be introduced promptly to the Verkhovna Rada,” he said.

  Turchynov, ATO, Armed Forces of Ukraine