During a working trip to Donetsk and Luhansk regions, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited a number of positions of the Ukrainian military at the front line in the area of the Joint Forces Operation. The head of state inspected how the full and comprehensive ceasefire, which became effective on July 27, is respected.
The Ukrainian military told the President that now the situation in their segments of the front line is calm.
"It's bizarre for us now that ceasefire is happening. We are all here motivated people, who want to liberate our country both with the help of political means... and if it does not work out politically, then military means. We will not retreat back. We are on the front line, and you are already on the political front," Sergeant Mykola said.
At the same time, the soldiers maintain a fighting spirit and train so as not to lose skills.
"My primary task is to execute the combat mission and save the life of the personnel. I would like it to be over as soon as possible, so that my soldiers could return home and know that victory will be ours," one of the Ukrainian soldiers on the front line said.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that making the truce is the most important point of the agreements reached at the Normandy summit in Paris. The implementation of these agreements is a guarantee of a gradual movement towards peace in Donbas. The effectiveness of the ceasefire is confirmed by the level of tension on the front line, which significantly eased in the past two weeks. Before the announcement of the truce, the militants fired at the positions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces on average 16-18 times a day, mainly using heavy weapons. And their shelling was mainly deliberate.
The President recalled that earlier there were a number of attempts to negotiate a ceasefire. And we had never been successful. Therefore, one must not repeat the mistakes of the past in order to get a peaceful future.
At the same time, the Head of State said that international law gives the Ukrainian military every opportunity to defend themselves and fire back. Therefore, today the Armed Forces of Ukraine can fire back, but they try not to respond to regular provocations.
"Take care of yourself and take care of everyone," Volodymyr Zelenskyy said to the soldiers.
Coming to the front line to inspect the situation there, the Head of State talked with the famous Ukrainian warrior – Lieutenant Colonel Vadym Sukharevsky, who began to fight for the independence of our state since the beginning of the war in Donbas and received two Orders of Bohdan Khmelnytsky. In particular, he took part in the first clash near Sloviansk. Vadym Sukharevsky told about the experience of participating in the war when it began, in particular about the battles for Sloviansk. He said that then, in the spring of 2014, there was a real chance to prevent the seizure of the city.
Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak noted the energizing of the Ukrainian side in moving towards peace.
"It is very important for us to continue the dialog. And the Normandy meeting should become a meeting that will continue it, and we expect that at the meeting a real agreement on the next steps will be reached," he said.
Andriy Yermak said that the President of Ukraine arrived to inspect the situation at the forward military positions and see the spirit of the army. According to him, the ceasefire, which has lasted for 11 days, is a guarantee of the preservation of the life and health of our soldiers.
"We came to see how and what is happening, to hear our soldiers, how they feel about it, to hear our citizens. I can say that everyone is in a very good mood, everyone supports this ceasefire," he said.
The head of the President's Office added that now the Ukrainian government has formed a very powerful team, and this will contribute to the peaceful settlement of the situation in Donbas.
"Today Ukraine dominates the Minsk format, Ukraine dominates the Normandy format. We have created a structure that allows the entire world to see that Ukraine is doing whatever is necessary, and, of course, this will lead to results, and if not, everyone will see who does not want peace," Andriy Yermak said.