Chief of Staff of the National Guard of Ukraine Volodymyr Volkov: “Battalions ask for the go-ahead: martial law is needed to reset the governmental system”

Chief of Staff of the National Guard of Ukraine Volodymyr Volkov: “Battalions ask for the go-ahead: martial law is needed to reset the governmental system”
June 19, 2014.

Kyiv, 19 June 2014 – “Martial law is not needed just for the sake of it, it is needed to reset the governmental system. Only martial law will make it possible to immediately revamp all agencies, from local self-government to police and the Security Service of Ukraine which, unfortunately, not only aggravate the situation but also support terrorists’ actions, as we have observed in Odessa, Luhansk and Kramatorsk. This is why imposing martial law will help achieve Maidan’s dream to completely reset the government in the cities where battles are taking place,” said Volodymyr Volkov, Chief of Staff of the National Guard of Ukraine, during a briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.

Volodymyr Volkov said peaceful negotiation with terrorists were “Ukraine government’s novelty” and urged the authorities to vigorously continue the anti-terrorist operation in the east of Ukraine. According to him, international experience proves any negotiations with terrorists to be futile: “There is no way you can reach an agreement with terrorists.”

Speaking at the briefing, platoon commander of the Aidar battalion Vladislav Garanin stated: “We demand that the President and the military leaders launch a full scale military operation to suppress the terrorists in the east of Ukraine. The only way to do it is to seal the border, which should be done automatically the moment martial law is declared. One of the reason it hasn’t been done yet is partially because the border is one of the means to provide regions with smuggled goods. According to Vladislav Garanin, “today’s Ukrainian border is nothing more than just a formal border, through which armored vehicles and trucks with APC components and other items are brought in.” He says that it is because of the unimpeded supply of equipment through the border that the terrorists are able to regain and reinforce their previous positions.

Another major issue is the lack of legal status of soldiers that participate in military operations as part of voluntary units. “Today they have the status of volunteers, not even military personnel,” said Vladislav Garanin during the briefing. According to the representatives of the National Guard, this legal gap may lead to a situation where armed volunteers who arrive to the battle zone to protect their country can be accused of participating in terrorist activities because their legal status is undetermined.

National Guard representatives do not support the decision to temporarily cease fire, noting that the terrorists do not adhere to the ceasefire. “There is a war going on in our country, not military operations, not terrorist attacks, but a full-scale war,” said Ruslan Raskulov, Chief of the Military Analytics Department of the Public Staff of the National Guard of Ukraine.

Speaking at the briefing, members of the National Guard stated that the earlier announcement made by the Minister of Interior Arsen Avakov about the creation of 30 units of special police forces around the country was not true. According to them, by ignoring legislative requirements to the formation of such military structures, the Interior Ministry left them outside legal framework. In addition, there are serious problems with the support, armament and equipment of the newly created units. National Guard representatives urged the Parliament and the President of Ukraine to resolve this issue in accordance with international requirements and grant them the status of participants of the anti-terrorist operation.

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