Exclusive interview with the head of the parliamentary Committee on national security, defense and intelligence Alexander Zavitnevich (fraction “servant of the people”) to the Agency “Interfax-Ukraine”


The members of your Committee went to the area of environmental protection, in particular in the areas of cultivation forces near the demarcation line. Tell me more about these trips…

We go there in the framework of the monitoring mission, as decided at the Committee meeting in early October. The first two trips was to the Village Lugansk and gold. The last third trip was planned last week on Friday in the area of the breeding forces of Peter-Bogdanovka, Donetsk region. But intervened adverse weather conditions – rain, fog, in Kiev and in Donetsk region – not flying weather for aircraft, especially for helicopters. The trip had to be postponed.

If during a visit to Golden, the main attention was focused on conversations with people, including with local residents in the Petrovsky – Bogdanovka pay attention to the living conditions of servicemen, see where they live, where and how do you eat, get acquainted with the military structures to the new position from the point of view of security.


What’s the atmosphere like in these areas?

We all monitor. We have reports of the Ministry of defense and, you know, in areas where there was already breeding forces – and in the Village Lugansk, and in Gold, and in Peter, and in Bohdanivka no violations of the regime of silence, everything is quiet.


Despite the dilution of forces from two sides in three points near the demarcation line, the rest of the territory along this line is still not easy – recently wounded of the peaceful resident, was burned as a result of mortar fire at several houses in one of the settlements, each day wounded… it Turns out that doesn’t quite work the principle of “stop shooting”…

Yes. However, if you count from the moment of withdrawal of forces, we have become much less waste, much less wounded.


You are talking about the demarcation line?

All of it. The number of attacks was much less – sometimes five to seven attacks, maybe 10, and another six months ago were the days when there were fifty attacks. So now everything was on the decrease. I really hope that this is a normal trend, she is going to fade, despite the fact that only three places of power and means of spread.


How soon can the soldiers who left their place of deployment at the point of withdrawal forces to return to their former positions in case of aggravation of the situation?

Exact standards do not know, this is a question for the General staff (APU – if), nthe distance there is about one kilometer. Just imagine a meadow or even the landing… What is go one kilometer? It does not take much time. And I must say that, for example, in the area of cultivation in the Golden box at all. The point to take the enemy this territory? Nobody will not go there.

But if, God forbid, the situation escalates, the military will quickly return to their former position.


How are things with the medical care of the local population after the withdrawal of forces?

Until opening the doctors there do not reach, because there was a risk, constant shelling. When cultivation forces the MPs went to these areas, people complained that the lights to avoid orientation in the shelling. People lived in fear. Do you think going to the doctors, Ambulance on call, if can be a potential fire?

And now after the withdrawal of forces of shelling there. People see that security everything is fine, no fires and everything began to go, not only medicine, but also the “mobile shops”, some small business work – something is there to be reborn.


Let’s move on to legislative activities. What other bills the Committee is now working? And which ones are priority?

In the work of many bills, like other committees. For this reason it was interesting to hear from the employees of the Secretariat of the Verkhovna Rada, which they had never worked in this mode was not such a large number of bills. For example, in our Committee at the same time there are seven or eight working groups, and each is a bill. The group is headed by MP.

So, the working group on drafting the bill on military police conducts Irina Vereschuk (fraction “servant of the people” – if). The draft law on the reform of the security Service of Ukraine in the group of David Arakhamiya (“servant of the people” – if), working group for developing new regulations of the Armed forces of Ukraine is headed by Michael Zabrodsky (“European solidarity” – if). Working group for preparing changes to laws of Ukraine concerning mine action activities under the direction of Igor Gerasimenko (“servant of the people” – if), on national security – Mariana Bezugly (“servant of the people” – if), on state secrets – Theodore Venslauskas (“servant of the people” – if).

Working on a presidential draft law on intelligence bodies of Ukraine, have twice gathered by the working group.

Just got out of a meeting of the working group on drafting the bill on social protection of servicemen and members of their families. Somewhere two weeks ago has created a working group on cybersecurity in the sector of national defense and security. We also have a working group on territorial defense is also very important.

The members of the Committee quite a lot of reserve officers who have served in different branches of the armed forces, well aware of the problems in the military sphere and even if there is no urgent need for the adoption of the law, then why not create a working group to gather experts, not to work in the future. It would take two or three years, and in the laws which we accept, too, will have to make changes, everything changes rapidly.


At what stage is the work on the draft law on amendments to the law on national security?

The changes we propose to amend the current law on national security, would focus on reforming the Ministry of defense under the G-structure to NATO standards. Will be introduced to some new posts. Now we are at the stage of exchange of views at the working group level. We can’t complete system NATO to clone themselves – it is necessary to adapt to our realities, to take into account that Ukraine is still a country at war.

And here is quite a hot – from working groups, proposals to the Committee to develop a separate draft law on parliamentary control over the defence sector, this rule has not been scattered in different laws. Yes, the law on national security the provision on parliamentary control is, but it is without specific details, and it turns out that the law is emasculated.


Well, since we’re talking about national security… What is the level of threat to the security of the state in the event of termination from January 1 of Russian gas transit?

I would not say that there is such a direct threat to our national security. Yes, it exists, but it’s more the threat of an economic nature. And, of course, some danger in this for all of our gas transportation system – this is a huge edifice, which has some kind of asset. It can be used as a lever. That’s all.


What the bill is about exploration?

It was written, it was filed by the President, as a subject of legislative initiative, we in the working groups considered, that is, he is ready, and we filed for first reading.


When it will be adopted as a whole?

I can not say exactly. With just a month left before the end of this year, two weeks. I know that in other committees fifteen bills that have passed the first reading. We have a priority bill on the security Service, the period for acceptance which was signed by the President before the end of the year. But I don’t know whether to accept it. Not everything depends on us.

We were planning to adopt the laws of the SBU, about exploration, about defense procurement, changes in the law on national security (he’s not that big), but there are procedural things that slow down the speed of work of the Verkhovna Rada. For example, for the second reading of the bill deputies may make a thousand revisions, for consideration which can take the whole day of the plenary, and even more.


But at least some of the above law will be adopted in whole by the end of this year?

An absolute guarantee can not give, but I think that the bill for defence procurement will still be accepted until the end of the year.


How’s the work on the new edition of the law “On security Service of Ukraine”?

There are several versions of the bill. There is a bill in the variant of the security Service and Office of the President and have the option of the Committee.



Should the reform of the SBU service to maintain the function of the fight against corruption?




We have anti-corruption bodies and those already. If to count, in comparison with other countries, we have them even more. The question is how they do it. It is necessary that anti-corruption bodies to carry out their duties, and the Parliament exercised control over their implementation.


The Minister of defence has recently announced its intention to abandon conscription and a transition to contract army. How realistic are these plans?

Currently I think it’s not realistic, but we need to think ahead for the future, based on our small experience in this matter and considering the experience of other countries.

Contract soldiers in the army we have already more than one year and as practice shows, after all the training and desire to serve them more powerful than ordinary recruits. So, perhaps not now but in the future still, and I support the Minister 100%, you need to completely thransit to the contract army.

The army should be professionals with the appropriate financial provision, and everything we declare when signing the contract, you need to perform. Much remains to be done to raise the credibility of the defender, to the soldier and commander, and all citizens are treated with respect and made him feel worthy.


You are a member of two temporary commissions of the Verkhovna Rada special issues of restoration of territorial integrity and investigation in the investigation of explosions in ammunition depots in the period from 2014 to 2018. How is the work of these commissions? Were there any new facts about the reasons that caused the emergency in the warehouses?

Temporary investigative Commission of explosions in military warehouses were going in last Monday Nov. It was the first orientation meeting, we decided who of experts we need one of the experts to invite to the next meeting so they told us how things are going. We invite the military, employees of the RRG (State Bureau of investigation – if), employees of the institutions conducting the examination. We’d like to know how it was.

The Commission on the de-occupation of territories met twice, it is Sergey Rakhmanin (the head of fraction “the Voice” – if). The work of this Commission, in fact, help President Vladimir Zelensky before the meeting of leaders of Channel four.


Whether the results of the work of this Commission made a report to the President?

Yes, when it will be the decision of the Committee on the results of the interim special Commission (FAC – if). It’s very simple – this will be of help to the President for further negotiation position.


There are already at least a dotted line of a road map for the return of occupied territories of Donbass and Crimea?

There are red lines that everyone knows. Today we had a presentation of the public organization “No surrender”, its activists told about his vision of the return of territorial integrity and sovereignty. And their opinion on 99 % coincides with the common position and Office of the President, the Verkhovna Rada, and to our Committee and all other committees, and every citizen of the country. We know that nobody wants to lose territory, no one would do it. And only one percent are not coincidences – and it’s some of the highlights and interpretations.


Contact members of the Commission on restoration of territorial integrity with the working group on reintegration of the temporarily occupied territories of the law reform Commission under the President, working on the strategy for the return of the Crimea?

I don’t know about groups, but we were at the IPC meeting the adviser of the President Andrey Ermak. He was probably as representative of this group.


What, in your opinion, should be the strategy to return the occupied territories?

Much is possible now to enumerate, but first and foremost – and the President repeatedly spoke about it – it’s the return of our territories, it is the de-occupation without any conditions. This is our territory, it is Ukraine.

Second – the restoration of borders and the Ukrainian control over them. It’s not just the dilution of forces, it is a complete withdrawal of troops to the Russian Federation and all the mercenaries are gone. The holding of the elections according to Ukrainian law only after our border and when in that territory there will be no military forces. And this whole add-on to remove the so-called DNR and LNR.


31 December ends with the action of the law on local self-government in certain districts of Donetsk and Lugansk regions. Is there at least any developments of the new bill? You are attracted to this work?

While we do not attract. This bill I have not seen and we probably all are waiting for President’s meeting in the Normandy format on December 9. I think 10 or max 11th (Dec – if) will have some solution and to Parliament including. Yet on this bill, we are not working.


Time to prepare a qualitatively new law, its discussion with members of the public in fact. It would be better not to prolong the current law and without turbo to work on a new bill?

Of course, I would like more time to prepare bills to not work in turbo mode. But you know how the performance of our faction! In such a situation we are now. And we, if need be, we will work day and night.


Recently the party of “the Voice” has offered Ukraine to get out of the Minsk negotiations and to freeze the situation in the East of the country, you assess this initiative?

Just go in order to get out – it’s not a very good option. This is my personal opinion. If you go, let us somewhere to come in. We still need some form of negotiations. The Minsk format, how would we say that it is very bad, but it’s there – and there are documents signed in Minsk the previous President of Ukraine and we must comply with their obligations. The Minsk format is what it is, we have another.

And it goes further? Let’s see… Our President will be there (in Paris – if) to talk.

I would prefer a different format, more perfect, more correct from a legal point of view, and international.


What do you expect from the talks of the Normandy Quartet on December 9 in Paris?

Don’t really want to think, but we all optimistically configured. Specifically

expect to have peace, and our land returned to us, and people were reunited, including the Crimea returned – and this is a strategic goal for which we work.


And you didn’t share the President what he was going to the talks in Paris, any suggestions will defend?

No. With us not yet shared, but still have 10 days…


And you think that he would acquaint the Parliament with the positions that have prepared for negotiations?

I think, Yes.


Just recently, the Minister of foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov said that Ukraine should negotiate with the leaders ORDO. How would you comment on this statement…

Such statements were before. The position is not only mine, but all our politicians, statesmen, of the President – we don’t need to join with them in negotiations. We have Russia – a country aggressor and need to talk to the Russian Federation.




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