Ukraine's interior minister explains "joint patrolling" in Donbas during future elections
Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov has explained a compromise transitional option for joint patrolling and ensuring security by the National Police of Ukraine, the OSCE special police mission and "representatives of territorial communities" in Donbas if local elections are held in the war-struck area in the future.
"No one likes the 'Steinmeier formula,' but I really like it in this part. We proceed from the assumption there will be no elections until all illegal groups have been dissolved. Elections can be held only under the Ukrainian flag, with the Central Election Commission and all state bodies of Ukraine. On the other hand, the 'people's militia' is laid down in Minsk Agreements, which is beyond our legislative field, so this issue needs to be somehow addressed. The 'people's militia of the Luhansk People's Republic' and the 'people's militia of the Donetsk People's Republic' do exist but they must be dissolved. And so we are again searching for a compromise," the minister said at a TV panel show Pravo na Vladu [Right to Power] on Thursday.
Avakov noted Ukraine was ready to deploy its police officers to maintain order as soon as diplomats conclude an adequate agreement.
"And the idea was that we deploy our police forces, for example, a five-strong patrol: two from the National Police of Ukraine, one from the OSCE special police mission, and two representatives of territorial communities where the elections are held," he said.
The minister also said this option was taken from the experience of other local conflicts.
"This was the case in Croatia. This is a transitional period for such a special complex police mission. It doesn't last long, it's very difficult for police officers, it could cause huge conflicts from within and even result in victims because clashes erupt anyway. But, perhaps, there is no other way, and this is the minimum amount of difficulties that we can get when restoring our sovereignty," Avakov added.