National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksandr Turchynov believes Ukraine needs to finish the anti-terrorist operation and move to a new format of protecting the country from the hybrid war with Russia. He said it in an exclusive interview with Interfax-Ukraine.
“Hostilities in the east of our country have continued for three years and have outgrown both the duration and the scale of the ATO format. It should be noted that the Anti-Terrorist Operation fulfilled many important tasks. It was within the ATO framework that we stopped the aggressor, were able to hold presidential, parliamentary and local elections, and also liberated a significant part of the occupied territory of Ukraine... At the same time, it's time to move on to a new format of the country's defense". - Turchynov said.
According to him, the current Ukrainian legislation provides for two main cases in which the combat use of the Armed Forces is authorized – these are a declaration of war and an anti-terrorist operation.
"Despite the widespread opinion, under our legislation, the imposition of a martial law suggests only the existence of a special legal regime in the country or in certain regions and does not provide for an automatic right to use the army and other military formations", - the NSDC secretary explained.
In this connection, it's time to define a new format that will effectively protect Ukraine from the hybrid methods of war used by Russia, Turchynov said. "It's time not only to recognize some areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions as occupied, but to outline at the legislative level the basis of the state policy for their liberation." An effective technology of protecting the country is needed. To this end, it is necessary to give the president the right to use the army and other military formations against the hybrid aggression by Russia", - the NSDC secretary stressed.
He also noted that it is necessary to create an operational headquarters permanently working in the hostilities zone, which will have broad powers for the integrated management of the army, all law-enforcement structures and civil and military administrations.
At the same time, the NSDC secretary stressed that such an approach "will only strengthen the foundation of the Minsk agreements, since their implementation is impossible without resolving security issues and without liberating the occupied Ukrainian territory".
"This is a very serious issue that requires discussion in a professional expert environment. The updated bill on the restoration of Ukraine's state sovereignty over the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions will be presented to the president, after which I hope it will be promptly introduced to the Verkhovna Rada", - Turchynov said.