KIEV, April 5. /TASS/. Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has pledged to sign a decree in May to end the so-called anti-terror operation in the Donbass area in east Ukraine and switch over to United Forces Operation on the territories uncontrolled by official Kiev.
"The date will be [specified] in May as we are switching to a new format of defending the country. We are introducing new measures. We are doing this because we see a sharp increase in the threat in the east and we must keep powder dry," the Ukrainian president said at a meeting with regional media outlets, replying to a question about the exact date of ending the anti-terror operation.
Ukraine’s Defense Ministry earlier reported that United Forces Operation announced by the president would be carried out in the Donbass area along with the ongoing anti-terror operation until the head of state issued a decree on cancelling the latter.
On March 6, Poroshenko announced a change in the format of the anti-terror operation in Donbass and appointed Sergei Nayev as the commander.
According to the Ukrainian president, he set the commander "the task of strengthening the armed forces to an extent allowing them to ‘be able to liberate the occupied territories.’"
As Security Service Deputy Head Viktor Kononenko noted, "nothing has actually changed" and the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has just handed over control of the operation to the armed forces.
At the same time, Ukraine’s General Staff representative Yuri Bobrov said earlier that the anti-terror operation and United Forces Operation "are different things and one does not rule out the other." "Moreover, I’m confident that the anti-terror operation will continue, irrespective of when United Forces Operation begins or ends," he said.
"The anti-terror operation will end when the last member of illegal formations, the last terrorist will be detained and delivered to law-enforcement agencies," he said.
The replacement of Ukraine’s Donbass anti-terror operation by United Forces Operation is envisaged in the decree signed by President Poroshenko in late 2017 on the reintegration of Donbass ("On the Specifics of State Policy to Ensure Ukraine’s State Sovereignty over Temporarily Occupied Territories in the Donetsk and Lugansk Regions").
This document refers to the areas uncontrolled by official Kiev as "temporarily occupied territories" and qualifies Russia’s actions as "an aggression against Ukraine" while the Ukrainian president is given the right to use armed forces inside the country without the parliament’s approval, including for the purpose of liberating territories in the country’s east.
Ukraine is setting up a united operational headquarters of the country’s armed forces to control defense and security forces and military-civil administrations in the zone of the conflict.