Ukraine Interior Minister elaborates on plan to return occupied Donbas
Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov says he has a plan for the return of the occupied territory of Donbas to Ukraine. It is called "tactics of small steps, which everyone applauds."
"I do not think that it is possible to reintegrate the whole territory of occupied Donbas at once. There are not enough 'blue helmets' to cover the entire territory. Therefore, I propose, conditionally speaking, to retake Horlivka or Novoazovskiy district," he said in an interview with Ukrayinska Pravda.
"The plan is this: peacekeepers are deployed on the border of the town of Horlivka or Novoazovskiy district. The border with the occupied territory should be immediately taken under control of both the 'blue helmets' and Ukrainian border guards. After the return of this territory to Ukraine, Ukrainian judicial authorities may enter and hold elections in line wtith our legislation," he said.
According to Avakov, it does not matter who wins this election: someone with frankly pro-imperial views will win local elections in most cases, he believes.
"The main thing is to form a transitional administration based on these new bodies and representatives of the state power of Ukraine elected in line with Ukrainian law. Central authority should come in there along with the Ukrainian police forces," Avakov stressed.
After that, in his opinion, Ukraine should pass an amnesty law regarding all but those "who have blood on their hands, who killed our soldiers, participated in repression against civilians."
Avakov also said Ukraine would have to pass a law on "collaborators."
"But the law 'on collaborators' is mandatory because it is necessary to determine the status of each person, to officially establish that they are citizens of Ukraine as anybody else. They are either victims or participant, but not critical though. Or maybe they deserve to be reprobated," he said.
Read alsoUkraine's Turchynov: Kremlin was preparing to invade Kyiv in 2014It is obvious that it will be necessary to also resolve issues with the "transitional status" of the occupied territories, he added.
"First, it will concern a certain kind of a special economic status. This territory will have to be restored after the occupation at an outstripping pace," Avakov said.
"Let's assume that the Ukrainian government has entered the separatist region or Horlivka. Accordingly, the Ukrainian police maintain public order there. And I even admit some kind of transitional, joint patrolling by Ukrainian security forces alongside local representatives of territorial communities delegated by local district councils," Avakov continued.
Further, the restoration of infrastructure and the improvement of living standards should start, according to the minister: restoring water, electricity supplies and renewed issuing of Ukrainian passports.
Read alsoJoint Forces Operation to be launched in Donbas April 30 - PoroshenkoAt the same time, Avakov noted that the vetting procedure should be thorough to ensure that Ukrainian passports are issued to Ukrainian nationals only.
"The second step is to repeat the same procedure in the next, neighboring five districts, for as long as we have strength and trust," Avakov added.
"If all this is implemented, then we will be able to gradually reach a point where Ukrainian border guards are deployed along the Ukraine-Russia border, ensuring full control. 'Blue helmets,' on whom Poroshenko is negotiating, will stand alongside," Avakov summed up.