Why Do We Need to Change the ATO Format to a United Forces Operation?

February 28, 2018

Verkhovna Rada has adopted a law, according to which ATO format is changed to a united forces operation. This is necessary to harmonise this format of operation with what was actually happening for at least past three years, when the Armed Forces were playing the main role, although main responsibility was falling on the SBU's Anti-Terrorist Centre, which was actually not so.

The ATO format had its logic at the moment when it was being announced, — in the mid-2014. At that time, there was no full-scale military activity yet, although signs of aggression and all grounds for application of constitutional norms and the law on defence were already present. However, it can be justified, why the acting president of that time Turchynov decided to use this format. There were both internal and external factors for this. Yet, when the combat operation started, when participation of Russian military units was registered in the Ukrainian territory, for instance, paratroopers, who got lost during artillery attacks from Russia's territory, — is when problems with the use of ATO format started.

Oleksiy Melnyk

Co-Director, Foreign Relations and International Security Programmes, Coordinator of International Projects

Born in 1962 in Khmelnytsty Rgn


Royal College of Defence Studies, London, UK (2007)

Air Field Operations Officer School, Biloxy, MS, US (2001)

Squadron Officer School, Montgomery, AL, US (1994)

Defence Language Institute, San Antonio, TX, US (1994)

Chernihiv Higher Military Air Force Academy, Ukraine (1984)


1980 – 2001 — Air Force Active Service (Cadet, Instructor Pilot, Flight Commander, Squadron Commander, Deputy Air Force Base Commander, Participant of two UN peacekeeping operations, Lt.Colonel (Ret)

2001 – 2004 — Razumkov Centre

2004 – 2005 — State Company Ukroboronservice

2005 – 2008 — Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, Head Organisational and Analytical Division — First Assistant to Minister of Defence

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