Ukrainian Army takes full control of the operations in Donbas

On 30 April, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced that the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) in Eastern Ukraine came to an end, being replaced by the Joint Forces Operation coordinated by the Ukrainian Army in accordance with the Territorial Integrity Law adopted by the parliament on 18 January 2017.

The ATO has been underway since April 2014, when Russian proxies and operatives began fomenting unrest and seized government buildings in Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv. In charge of ATO was the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU). The Joint Forces Operation, however, will be run by the Army, which in accordance with the aforementioned legislation and without the imposition of martial law, will have a full and centralised strategic control over all law enforcement agencies and personnel involved in frontline operations. The takeover of this responsibility indicates that the reform and consolidation of the Ukrainian army have finally advanced to a level allowing it to fulfil its law-prescribed duties. Meanwhile, on 30 April the US has confirmed that the anticipated delivery to Ukraine of 210 Javelin anti-tank missiles and 37 launchers had already taken place, raising stakes in a conflict where both Russia and its proxies in Donbass rely heavily on armoured warfare, and deepening the American involvement on Ukraine's side.

About author: Mihai Turcanu

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