Head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine announced plans to 'return' the Donbas in 2017

The Ukrainian Interior Minister, Arsen Avakov, urged border guards to prepare for the "de-occupation of the Donbas" as soon as this year.

"In 2017, our goal is to attain the internationally recognized State border in the Donetsk Basin, and in the future, of the Crimea, as well. This process will involve the police, guards, and judicial authorities, but the border guards will be the first to act," he said, according to UNIAN.

According to the head of the Interior Ministry, the border guards will have to reach the border within one or two weeks after the government approves an action plan. "It is not a propagandistic statement or some idee fixe. It is the reality which we are going to face quite soon, and the state should rely on your readiness to take decisive actions and the willingness to ensure this process," Avakov added.

Earlier, the Deputy Minister for the Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons and former head of the Luhansk Regional State Administration, George Tuka, said that the "liberation" of the occupied territories of the Donbas will begin in the autumn of 2017. However, he stressed that it is necessary to separate the liberating of the Crimea and the Donbas from each other, because, in his opinion, the return of the "annexed" peninsula will need much more time.

  Ukraine, Donbas