Combat activities in Donbas no longer anti-terrorist operation: time for new format of country defense, - Turchynov

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Combat activities in Donbas no longer anti-terrorist operation: time for new format of country defense, - Turchynov

"Combat activities in the east of our country have lasted for three years now, and they have overgrown both the term and the scale of an anti-terrorist operation.... It's within ATO that we managed to stop the aggressor, to hold presidential, parliamentary, and local elections, and liberate large occupied areas.... At the same time, we need to shift to a new format of defending the country," Turchynov told Interfax-Ukraine in exclusive interview, Censor.NET reports.

"It's time not only to recognize some areas of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions as occupied, but also to define legislatively the state policies of their liberation. We need efficient technology to defend the country, and for that we need to allow the president legally use the Armed Forces of Ukraine and other armed units against the hybrid aggression by the Russian Federation," Turchynov said.

The NSDC secretary stressed that this approach will "only strengthen the foundation of the Minsk agreements, as long as their implementation is not possible without solving the security issues and releasing the occupied areas of Ukraine."

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"This is a very serious issue that needs to be discussed among professional experts," Turchynov said, adding that amended bill "On restoring state sovereignty of Ukraine over temporarily occupied areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions" will be presented to the president and after that - to the Verkhovna Rada.