Upping the ante again in Ukraine: the “anti-terrorism operation”

A quick and rather technical update to my last and broader post given that, in the latest lurch deeper into a self-sustaining spiral of bitterness and violence, the Ukrainian government has invoked an “anti-terrorism operation” as the cover for its activities in Kiev. This means, in effect, that it takes to itself the right to apply a low-level form of martial law. This could mean that it deploys the army, but we should be cautious and not assume that it necessarily will. (Not least as there are reasons not to, as I suggest in my last post.)

It’s not the most scintillating of reads, but it is worth actually looking at the terms for such an operation under the relevant section of the 2003 Law On the Fight against Terrorism (VVR, 2003, N 25, st.180. As amended by the Law N 2600-IV (2600-15) of 31.05.2005, VVR, 2005, N 25, st.335). This is, I should stress, not an official translation and my apologies if I misrepresent any aspects of it, and I add my comments in italicised brackets:


Article 10. Terms of the antiterrorist operation

Anti-terrorist operation is performed only if there is a real threat to the life and security of citizens, to the public interest or to the state, and if this threat cannot be neutralised by other means.

Article 11. The decision to conduct anti-terrorist operation

The decision to conduct antiterrorist operation will be made, depending on the degree of public danger of terrorist attack, by the head of the Antiterrorist Center of the Security Service of Ukraine, with the written permission of the President of the Security Service of Ukraine, by the head of a coordination group of appropriate regional authority of the Security Service of Ukraine or with the written permission of the head of the Antiterrorist Center of the Security Service of Ukraine agreed with the Chairman of the Security Service of Ukraine. The decision to conduct an antiterrorist operations will be immediately communicated to the President of Ukraine.

(In other words, it is a purely executive decision, subject to no legislative or juridical review)

Article 12. Office of the antiterrorist operation

For direct management of specific anti-terrorist operation and the management of forces and means involved in the implementation of anti-terrorism measures, an operational headquarters will be formed, led by the head of the Antiterrorist Center of the Security Service of Ukraine or a delegate.

The establishment of the operational headquarters of an antiterrorist operation will be approved by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.

The Head of Operations defines the limits of the district headquarters of the antiterrorist operation, decides on the use of forces and means involved in its conduct, and if necessary and the statutory grounds are met, proposes to the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine the establishment of a state of emergency in Ukraine or in a particular area.

(So the HoO can, for example, freely call on the military, on civilian volunteers–Titushki–etc, at will)

Interference in the operational management of the counterterrorist operation by any person, regardless of the position is not allowed.

Citizens and officials are obliged to meet the legitimate demands of participants of an antiterrorist operation.

(So simply refusing to follow instructions becomes grounds for arrest, and facing higher sentencing tariffs than usual.)

Article 13. Forces and means involved in conducting an anti-terrorist operation

In a counter-terrorist operation the assets employed (manpower, personnel, weapons and special vehicles, communications and other logistical assets), as well as other enterprises, institutions and organisations involved as as determined by the regulations referred to in Article 12 of this Law.

Payment of expenses and damages arising in connection with the conduct of antiterrorist operations will be carried out in accordance with the law.

Law enforcement personnel, military personnel and others involved in counter-terrorism operations will for that time be subordinated to the leader of the operational headquarters.

(Thus, by conjuring an anti-terrorist operation, the regular police and military chains of command can, if necessary, be sidelined.) 

Article 15. Rights of persons in the area of counter-terrorist operations

(I’ll summarise a rather long section: in the areas affected, officials can freely check IDs and detain those unable to unwilling to show them, enter private property if they suspect terrorist operations are taking place, arrest anyone “hindering the conduct of the operation”, temporarily restrict pedestrian and vehicular traffic including diplomatic and consular vehicles

(All pretty sweeping and lending themselves well also to use against Automaidan, etc)

Article 18. Ending the antiterrorist operation

An anti-terrorist operation is considered completed if the attack is stopped and the threat to the life and health of hostages and other people who were in the area of its holding has been eliminated.

The decision to cease operations against terrorism will be made by the head of the operations staff.

(It’s over when we say it’s over)

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  1. Snabbanalys Ukraina | Säkerhetspolitiska Reflektioner

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