On September 16, 2014 the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine published its Letter "Urgent issues of social and legal protection for persons involved in the anti-terrorist operation" addressing the following important is- sues:
- who shall be considered an ATO participant;
- procedure for providing leaves to ATO participants;
- whether fines and penalties on credit liabilities shall be accrued for ATO participants;
- whether an ATO participant may be dismissed form his/her office;
- whether ATO participants should be paid salary at their primary place of employment;
- what amount of a lump-sum cash allowance should be paid after demobilization;
- what benefits are provided to ATO participants and members of their families, what benefits ATO participants are entitled to in future;
- whether ATO participants may obtain a leave during their participation in the ATO due to grave family circumstances.
Apart from that, the issues in question included the procedure for obtaining the "volunteer" status by com- batants and the status of volunteers killed in the ATO zone.
As of today, volunteers who have formed special territorial defense subdivisions have no definitely estab- lished legal status. Therefore, the above persons remain unprotected. The existing legislation does not define the above class of persons as combatants. Thus they are deprived of the relevant benefits and payments in case of injury or death.
In this respect the Draft Law "On amendments to the Law of Ukraine "On the status of war veterans and guarantees for their social protection"14 was prepared to recognize persons involved in territorial defense volunteer units to protect independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and participated volunteer units to protect independ directly in the ATO as combatants.