Since the start of the conflict, Ukraine’s referred to its military operation, countering Russia’s invasion, as the – Anti Terror Operation (ATO). However, although the campaign has successfully stopped Russia’s advance into Ukraine, the name itself has never really sat well. ATO suggests a fight against a rag tag bunch of terrorists, rather than the regular Russian army.
But now, all has changed. Yesterday saw ATO replaced by the – Joint Forces Operation. President Poroshenko signed the Order of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on the beginning of the Joint Forces Operation on ensuring the national security and defense, deflection and deterrence of Russia’s armed aggression in the territory of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
The president said “I’m confident that this is not just a change in format. These are new opportunities for protecting Ukrainian territory, Ukrainian citizens. We will do everything possible to return the land of the occupied Donbas to the sovereignty of Ukraine as soon as possible…
Thus, from today, April 30, 2018, the large-scale ATO on the territory of Donetsk and Luhansk regions is completed. We are now starting the military operation under the leadership of the Armed Forces to ensure the protection of the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of our state.”
Unsurprisingly, Russian propaganda is all over this, making it out to be the prelude to a major, Ukrainian offensive, designed to retake all the Donbas. The reality is merely a military & humanitarian reappraisal and refresh of the Donbas military operation. Ukraine is still pushing for a UN Peacekeeping mission as the best option for peace, and the reclaiming of land currently occupied by Russia.
Link to Ukrainian Ministry of Defence Website for more info.