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Ukraine’s top military commander lifts all restrictions on return fire in Donbass — media

According to additional ceasefire control measures, any retaliatory fire in the event of an offensive is allowed only after a commander's direct order

KIEV, September 29. /TASS/. Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valery Zaluzhny issued a special directive allowing Ukrainian servicemen to return fire in the conflict zone of Donbass without prior approval from their supreme commanders, Ukrainian military journalists reported after a meeting with Zaluzhny.

"Commanders were authorized to use all available weaponry. Commanders on site can make decisions on their own, depending on the situation. Also, Zaluzhny freed the military from the need to write unnecessary papers," TheBabel quoted journalists as saying after the meeting.

Last week, Zaluzhny told Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty (RFE/LR, deemed a foreign agent in Russia) that commanders of military units operating in Donbass have no restrictions on retaliatory fire.

Additional measures to control the ceasefire along the contact line in Donbass came in force from July 27, 2020. The agreement came a year after the so-called indefinite ceasefire was declared by the parties on July 21, 2019 following more than 20 futile attempts to stop hostilities. Under the agreement, the parties to the conflict are banned to stage offensive and reconnaissance operations, use any types of drones, open fire, including from sniper weapons, and deploy heavy weapons in populated localities and addition engineering equipment at their positions. One of the key provisions is the use of disciplinary measures for ceasefire violations. Furthermore, any retaliatory fire in the event of an offensive is allowed only after a commander's direct order.

Despite these accords, the situation in Donbass has worsened with regular exchanges of gunfire, as well as deaths and casualties being reported by both sides.