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Change in format of Kiev’s operation Donbass unlikely to change situation - DPR negotiator

According to Denis Pushilin, Kiev is simply seeking to "legalize its crime"

DONETSK, April 30. /TASS/. The change in the format of Kiev’s operation in Donbass will not tell on the situation in the region but will give more powers to Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko, Denis Pushilin, who leads a delegation of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) to the peace talks in Minsk, said on Monday.

"I doubt that the situation along the contact line can change dramatically only because the so-called counter-terrorist operation against people living in the self-proclaimed republics is now called a Joint Forces Operation (JFO)," the Donetsk News Agency quoted him as saying.

According to Pushilin, Kiev is simply seeking to "legalize its crimes." "And Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshneko wants to have more power," he stressed. "But however they may call shelling of peaceful cities in Donbass, it is a crime against humanity which has no limitations period."

Earlier on Monday, Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko officially declared that the ongoing anti-terror operation in Donbass was completed and the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) kicks off. He said the move was expected to "bring drastic changes" to managing the military structure giving Ukraine’s army additional powers and control over units of the National Guard, the Security Services and the National Police. He appointed Sergei Nayev as the commander of the operation.

After the coup d’etat in February 2014, Ukraine’s new authorities failed to secure support of all citizens of the country - Donbass came out against the policy towards severing ties with Russia.

The idea of launching a campaign against Ukraine’s eastern territories was voiced by then-acting president Alexander Turchinov in April, 2014. The country’s armed forces were deployed to quash the protest in the region. Clashes between the army and Ukrainian nationalists with militias in Donbass by summer 2014 grew into full-scale combat actions with the use of military hardware and aviation.