De-occupation of Donbas


Restoration of sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country, de-occupation and reintegration of temporarily occupied territories is a key strategic task facing Ukraine.


Facts to date

Today there is a single modern platform for finding a solution format — the Minsk Agreement, signed on September 5, 2014 with the participation of international intermediaries.

This document, aimed at de-escalation of the armed conflict provoked by military aggression on the part of the Russian Federation, undoubtedly played an extremely important role at its stage.

The process of negotiations in the Normandy format and the agreements reached contributed to the transformation of the confrontation from a force to a political and diplomatic plane and to create the basis for further legal settlement of the conflict.

According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the 8th Army of the Southern Military District of the Russian Federation is located in the temporarily uncontrolled territories of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions under the guise of paramilitary formations of the DPR and LPR — the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk Second Military Corps. It consists of personnel servicemen of the Russian Federation, mercenaries and part of the local population. The personnel of these forces in the occupied territory is 35 thousand people. In their arsenal: 478 tanks, 848 armored vehicles, 750 artillery systems and mortars, 208 rocket systems of volley fire, 363 anti-tank vehicles, 419 air defense vehicles. The number of tanks in the army of the DPR/LPR is greater than in the UK! And the separatists did not buy this weapon in the “Voentorg” store seized in Donetsk, it was redeployed from the side of the Russian Federation. This is the real state of affairs four years after the Minsk negotiations in the Normandy format.

Ukraine bears the full brunt of this undeclared war
Today, the Minsk Protocol has largely restored its potential and does not correspond to the agenda. Unfortunately, the mechanisms provided by it did not allow solving the most important tasks of restoring the territorial integrity of Ukraine, de-occupation, ending the military conflict and the death of people.

Moreover, the “Minsk Agreements” go beyond the legal field of Ukraine and in the current format cannot be ratified by the Parliament of Ukraine. At the same time, they are used by the Russian Federation for political speculation at the international level.

A key disadvantage of the “Minsk format” is also the lack of a coherent vision of conflict resolution


Clearly, it is time to develop a new, more effective strategy for resolving the armed conflict and a detailed plan for the phased restoration of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

It is necessary to define a new format that will be legitimate from the point of view of international law.

Stage of preparation

Formation of the legal field for conflict resolution

Adoption of a package of legislative acts contributing to the restoration of the territorial integrity of Ukraine. Among them are the two most important laws:

1. The adoption of an amnesty law, which will affect the majority of people living in the occupied territory and participating in the conflict. Amnesty will not affect only those who have committed serious criminal orwar crimes. Amnesty will not affect those who have “blood on their hands”. Criminal proceedings should be opened in relation to them, and the measure of guilt is determined by the Ukrainian Law.

2. Adoption of the Law on Collaborators. It should be officially stated that legally every person — a citizen of Ukraine is endowed with all civil rights in accordance with the Constitution of Ukraine. And then, using the mechanism provided for in the Law, it will be necessary to determine the status of this citizen: whether he is a victim of the occupation regime (such a majority); or a participant who, due to circumstances, collaborated with the occupation regime; or a criminal who killed our soldiers and participated in repressions against the peaceful population. Accordingly, the Law shoulddetermine the degree of public response to the respective status of each person.

This is a very complex issue that concerns the level of readiness of society to compromise, but it must be resolved. Thus, a foundation will emerge, on the basis of which the vast majority of the population of the temporarily occupied territories will legitimately return to the legal field of Ukraine, will receive civil rights and access to public services. Only then will it be possible to hold elections in these territories

Communication strategy

The communication strategy inside Ukraine, which explains to people the plans of our actions is extremely important! It is absolutely necessary to achieve the understanding of the people and get the support of the civil society of Ukraine, since only the consolidation of the entire Ukrainian people and the transparency of the processes will allow the implementation of the program in full, including unpopular, but extremely necessary measures.

International peacekeeping mission

Introduction of an international peacekeeping mission. Determination of the status and procedure of attraction of international regulatory forces, program of international monitoring, advisory and resource assistance.




Since it is impossible to find and introduce into Ukraine from 20 to 40 thousand peacekeepers, which are necessary for the instant de-occupation and reintegration of the entire temporarily occupied territory of Donbas, it is proposed to start from a separate city or district (for example, Horlivka and/or Novoazovsky district).


It does not matter who wins these elections, it is fundamentally important that the process is carried out in accordance with Ukrainian law and with the provision of free expression of will. Even if a candidate with openly pro-Russian views is chosen, in the strategic perspective, when the conflict resolution processes are completed, this issue will be balanced in the coming years.

The main thing is to form a transitional administration that will start working with the central bodies of state power within the framework of reintegration and restoration procedures on the basis of Ukrainian legislation.

First of all — improving the quality of life of citizens in the deoccupied territory (health care, education, pension and other types of social and household provision, financial and banking sector, job creation, employment of the population).

The zone of hostilities in the Donbas isnearterritories are among the most contaminated with mines and explosive objects regions in the world. According to the UN, the area of mined territories in Ukraine is about 700,000 hectares.

The combat zone always becomes a zone of ecological disaster due to damage to soils, local flora and fauna, pollution of the territory. When it comes to Donbas, it is necessary to additionally take into account the specifics of the region, which houses numerous mines, enterprises (including chemical), 1,200 sources of ionizing radiation. All of them carry the threat of contamination of drinking water sources, epidemics, emissions and explosions of methane and other harmful substances. The ecological disaster of Ukraine will be an ecological disaster for the whole of Europe! (Appendix 1)

The degree of verification of these people should be the highest, according to a special mechanism so that Ukrainian passports are issued exclusively to Ukrainian citizens.

According to various estimates, it will take at least 10 years and between 20 and 30 billion US dollars to restore the socio-economic stability of the region.

Since in the foreseeable future Ukraine is not able to compensate for the damage caused by military aggression on its own, special economic support measures are needed:

Strategic objectives of AIM

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To train, train, provide information to persons who develop policy, as well as those who implement it on the ground; students and the public:

It should be noted that the return to Donbas of people who have lived for several years without toxic Russian propaganda will help restore the confidence of the local population in the institutions of Ukrainian authorities and to some extent facilitate reintegration.

01. A separate section (district) of the occupied territories of Donbas is selected and agreed, on which opposing military formations are assigned to the agreed line — a demilitarized security zone is created.

02. The Special International Peacekeeping Mission and the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine take under their control the specified section of the territory and its borders.

- They enter the territory of a certain city or district

- Ukrainian border guards and peacekeepers jointly take control of the border

- In the rest of the territory, order and legality are ensured by the National Police, the National Guard of Ukraine, together with the “Blue Helmets”. At the very first stage, perhaps with the involvement of spousal volunteers from among the local population representing local village and village councils

03. Within the liberated territory, the forces of the justice authorities of Ukraine are preparing for the electoral process and the subsequent holding of local elections in accordance with Ukrainian legislation.

04. On the territory of the reintegrated site, the work of all state institutions and law enforcement agencies of Ukraine is resumed.

05. The process of reintegration begins.

06. The procedure of humanitarian demining of the previously occupied territory is carried out.

07. Work is being carried out immediately to eliminate man-made and environmental risks

08. An urgent program of verification and restoration of Ukrainian documents for all people who have lived in the occupied territory for these years is launched.

09. An urgent program of verification and restoration of Ukrainian documents for all people who have lived in the occupied territory for these years is launched.

- Legislative consolidation of the mechanism for attracting donors and investors and providing the possibility of controlling the expenditure of funds (Council for the distribution of funds)

- Creation of an agency (fund) for the restoration of Donbass with the involvement of reputable international organizations, for example, on the basis of the Institute of Peace (Executive Director — William Taylor, former US Ambassador to Ukraine 2006-2009)

- Help prevent, conduct and resolve fierce conflicts both between countries and within states

- Ensure post-conflict stability and development

- Increase the potential of peace-building, tooling and intellectual capital around the world

- Increase the potential of peace-building, tooling and intellectual capital around the world

- Tax and other preferences for investors

- Perhaps the creation of free economic zones for the restoration of the Donbas economy.

- Creation of a special reserve fund with the participation of international organizations.

10. Work is being carried out on the return of forcibly displaced persons — internal migration of the population to areas abandoned due to military actions.

11. Participation of citizens living in the previously occupied territories in the elections to the central authorities of Ukraine is resumed, but not earlier than in 3-5 years.

Elections can be held exclusively in demilitarized territory. They cannot take place in the absence of the necessary safe environment and capable institutions.

Hasty elections can contribute to the intensification and renewal of the conflict with a new force.

Angola, 1992 - The victory of one party in the elections by a margin of 1-2% provoked a new conflict and led to a new civil war. The war ended only in the early 2000s.

Elections can be held when the borders of the state are under its full control or the control of international observers, otherwise there are no guarantees of security on the day of the vote.

In Croatia, Bosnia, Kosovo and Liberia, elections were held after the establishment of effective border crossing control (terms of 2-5 years).

In the case of Bosnia, the OSCE, under pressure from Western governments, authorized the elections, ignoring the lack of a number of conditions for democratic voting. As a result, after the national elections, people in leading positions found themselves with little interest in the full implementation of the peace agreement.

The most adequate time interval between the ceasefire and the holding of elections is 3 years after the ceasefire. If elections are held earlier than 2 years after the ceasefire in the case of young democracies and less than 1 year later in the case of developed democracies, this leads to a resumption of armed confrontation.

This time is necessary to ensure the conditions for honest and free expression of will and the formation of a moderate local force capable of creating a counterbalance to the radicals.

In addition, this time is necessary for the return of refugees and forcibly displaced persons to the previously occupied territories. Refugees and temporarily displaced persons cannot be deprived of the right to participate in elections! We need to give them the opportunity to return and get used to their former permanent residence!

The change of electoral legislation requires at least 1 year for all participants in the electoral process (commissions, parties, voters, etc.) to familiarize themselves with the new rules and adjust their work.

Holding national elections to the Verkhovna Rada in previously occupied territories until disarmament, demilitarization, restoration of border control, proper legislative and institutional support of elections will not lead to a resolution of the conflict. The results of such elections will not be recognized by the majority of the participants in the conflict and, therefore, the whole process will be doomed to failure.

Fan-shaped spread of the “Small Steps Mechanism”

As a result of the implementation of the Plan, the systematic work of the authorities is restored in the liberated territory, the quality of life of people improves, security and law order are ensured, all life processes are normalized. Normal peaceful life comes to war-torn villages.

The project then scales to neighboring areas. At the same time, each subsequent stage of de-occupation and reintegration will be easier, severallocal residents of liberated cities and villages will become “agents of influence”, an example and a model for neighbors.

Thus, it can be expected that the process of de-occupation and reintegration will proceed with increasing intensity and will be more efficient and less resource-intensive than an instantaneous operation on the entire temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine.

Expected results


- Territorial integrity and peace in the eastern regions of Ukraine

- Cessation of further bloodshed and periodic escalation of armed “conflict-pulsation”

- De-occupation, reintegration of occupied territories and post-conflict construction

- Stimulation of socio-economic development of territorial communities of previously occupied territories (improving the quality of life of the population through strengthening their capacity and social endurance, stimulating economic activity)

- Minimization of environmental risks and prevention of man-made disasters.

Temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions:

- Improving the quality of life to the all-Ukrainian standard of social security, protection and security, and access to all public services

- World and real, not situational and temporary cessation of hostilities, with corresponding positive consequences

- The phased and non-conflict nature of the reintegration process will contribute to the gradual restoration of mutual trust

- Residents of the temporarily occupied territories through democratic, fair and open elections will independently elect legal authorities in their regions. And later — they will be able to delegate their representatives to the parliament and participate in the elections of the President of the country

- Legally elected representatives of the temporarily occupied territories will have the right to participate in solving the problems of Donbas, first at the local and then at the state levels

- Guaranteed restoration of infrastructure and economy


- Participants in the peace process from the EU (Germany, France, etc.) and the United States will be able to become real peacekeepers who actively contributed to the peaceful settlement of the armed conflict; this will prove the effectiveness of the institutional mechanisms of Euro-Atlantic cooperation

- The EU will protect itself from the flow of refugees (including criminal elements), uncontrolled drug trafficking, illegal arms trafficking from the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine. As a result — reducing the potential threat of increased crime and terrorist threat


- The ability to get out of the stalemate, “keeping your face”

- May get additional arguments for easing sanctions

- Possibility not to fulfill financial obligations regarding expenses to support the socio-economic infrastructure of the temporarily occupied territories

- There will be no need to support another enclave of separatism, which in terms of population surpasses Transnistria, Abkhazia and South Ossetia combined.

Appendix 1

Assessment of man-made and environmental risks in the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions

- More than 1,200 sources of ionizing radiation are located on the territory of Donbas at 65 facilities. According to experts, due to military actions, uncontrolled functioning and maintenance of sources of ionizing radiation, there is a real radiation threat. Combat actions have damaged the integrity of radioactive waste storage facilities at Donetsk Chemical Plant and Donetsk Specialized Plant.

- Potentially hazardous production includes concern “Styrol”. In May 2014, it was announced to stop the production of ammonia, its derivatives and other products at the enterprise due to the tense situation in the region and the company's desire to “eliminate all risks for employees and residents of the region”. However, underground storage tanks for chemical waste production (and not only ammonia) remained. We are talking about huge enterprises located on the demarcation line. In case of ammonia entering the pipeline, foreign objects (fragments) or damage, the soil, groundwater, atmosphere (due to evaporation), etc., which can harm the ecology not only of the neighboring territories, but also of the whole of Ukraine, as well as the states bordering it. with Ukraine.

- Threat associated with flooding of mines. As a result of stopping the pumps and groundwater entering the mines, some of them turned out to be flooded. According to experts, if the water reaches the surface, the radiation level will exceed the permissible limit by a thousand times.

In addition, mine waters are highly mineralized and contaminated with harmful substances. If you do not start pumping out poisonous mine water urgently, it can mix with ground fresh water, get into rivers.

Another danger is that mine waters push out methane, which accumulates in basements and on the ground floors of buildings. One spark is enough to cause a powerful explosion.

Quite often there are cases when entire buildings fail in the voids formed by mines. It is possible that a critical infrastructure object may fail

There is information that militants arranged mass burials in abandoned mines. As a result, when snow melts or groundwater leaves, epidemics of hepatitis and other infections are possible.

- In the area of the village of Novgorodskoe there is a storage of chemical waste of a phenol plant. It is located between the positions of the Ukrainian army and militants, which are at a distance of 400 meters from each other. Deputy Head of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine A. Hug stressed that in the specified area it is necessary to establish a ceasefire regime and dissolve the parties to the conflict.

- Donetsk Filtration Station is located in the area between Avdiyivka and Yasinovata, which provides water supply to settlements located on both sides of the contact line. During the armed conflict, the SFS was more than once in the line of fire, because of which its work stopped, the supply of water to cities and villages was disrupted. According to experts, the continuation of hostilities near the SFS can provoke an environmental catastrophe.