30 Apr 2018 15:39

It is envisaged to free Donbas by political, diplomatic methods on basis of Minsk accords - Poroshenko

KYIV. April 30 (Interfax) - Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced a transition from the "anti-terrorist operation" format to a combined-forces operation in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions at a meeting of the country's military leadership on Monday, underscoring that the goal of liberating Donbas will be accomplished through political and diplomatic methods.

"I stress once again that it is envisaged to liberate Donbas through political and diplomatic means, which include forcing Russia to abide by the Minsk Agreements, ensuring the implementation of the security package of the Minsk Agreements in the first place, including a guaranteed ceasefire, and withdrawing artillery, tanks, multiple-launch rocket systems, and mortars banned by the Minsk Agreements preferably to the territory of the Russian Federation," Poroshenko said.

Poroshenko said that Ukrainian diplomats and he, as Ukraine's president, "will do everything possible to ensure the introduction of a peacekeeping format which will reinforce the [peacekeeping] contingent and create necessary conditions for restoring normal life."

"But if the enemy decides to mount a large-scale offensive, we will be responsible for repelling the Russian Federation's large-scale armed aggression and will stand ready to take part in a strategic defensive operation, whose plan has already been approved," he said.

Poroshenko appointed Lt. Gen. Serhiy Nayev, who became Ukraine's Combined Forces commander on March 16, 2018, to supervise the combined-forces operation in Donbas.