Verkhovna Rada Adopts Law on Combatant Rights
The Ukrainian Parliament adopted a law to give those who volunteered for the Anti-Terrorist Operation in eastern Ukraine the social assistance guarantees that combatants receive
The Ukrainian Parliament adopted a law to give those who volunteered for the Anti-Terrorist Operation, in eastern Ukraine, social assistance guarantees and combatant rights.
Yurii Kashpurovsky went to fight against Russia in the Donbas in 2014. He made this decision after the Ilovaisk tragedy, when the Russian military directly invaded Ukrainian territory.
Kashpurovsky first joined the ‘Right Sector’ volunteer forces, but after the military reform, he fought as a part of the Ukrainian volunteer army. Over five years on the frontlines, he fought in Pisky, Shyrokyne, Mariinka and Volnovakha. Yet after returning home he never received the status of a volunteer combatant.
“Over the five years I heard that the Kyiv City Council only gave out 12 volunteer status documents. I personally know two people, whose personal files are being considered by the commission, just like mine are. One of them is 77-years-old. It is our soldier and friend callsign ‘Tykhon’. He is the oldest volunteer soldier in Ukraine. I believe that if not him, then his descendants have to know,” Kashpurovsky said. “He was defending the independence of Ukraine.”
But now, people like Kashpurovsky can receive the status of a combatant from the government. The Ukrainian parliament adopted a law that guarantees their rights.
The new legislation concerns those who defended Ukraine’s territorial integrity and independence for no less than 30 days as a part of the Anti-Terrorist Operation before it was reformatted into the Joint Forces Operation.
“The adopted law allows volunteers to use the testimony of three witnessing combatants to confirm a volunteer’s participation in the anti-terrorist operation. This will grant them combatant status. It is equal to the status of those who fought in state military units. This allows them to receive medical care, a 75 percent discount on utility bills and become eligible for housing,” the co-author of the legislation, Lesia Vasylenko said.
“We have been working on this legislation for a long time and I would like to thank civic organizations, veterans, and volunteers. This injustice had to be fixed and today there was the political will to do this,” Ukrainian Minister of Veterans’ Affairs Oksana Koliada said.
According to different estimates, by the end of this year, there were at least 3,000 volunteer soldiers without official status. After the final adoption of the law they will all have a chance to be recognized as combatants.