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On April 30, Ukraine’s “antiterrorist operation” in the eastern region of Donbas officially ended. In its place, President Petro Poroshenko launched a “joint forces operation,” which was proposed by the National Security and Defence Council and mandated by a law passed earlier this year to reintegrate the Donbas. The label “antiterrorist operation” (ATO), which was announced in April 2014, was a misnomer from the start, reflecting a global trend of extending the use of the term “terrorism” instead of the realities on the ground. The ATO was established under Poroshenko’s predecessor, Oleksandr Turchynov, in response to the growing unrest and the seizure of government buildings in Donetsk, Luhansk, and Kharkiv that preceded Russian military support for separatists in parts of the Donbas. It was originally conceived as a short-term measure.

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By comparison, the joint forces operation (JFO) has a longer-term perspective; that is, until the Donbas and Crimea are fully reintegrated into the Ukrainian state. The main practical difference between the two operations is that the control over the implementation of Ukrainian policy in the war zone switched from the security service (SBU) to Ukraine’s armed forces. Read more… v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v