KIEV, May 1 (Xinhua) -- Ukraine has launched a joint forces operation (JFO) controlled by the army in the conflict-hit Donetsk and Lugansk regions, the country's Defense Ministry said on Tuesday in a statement.
The new regime will replace the four-year-long "anti-terror" operation, which was ruled by the State Security Service of Ukraine.
The JFO covers both - the government-controlled and the non-government-controlled territories of eastern Ukraine.
Under the JFO, the whole area in Donetsk and Luhansk regions is divided into three color-coded zones: the green zone with unlimited access; the yellow zone, which can be entered with the passport and after special checks; and the restricted red zone.
On Monday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has signed a decree to change the format of Kiev military operation against pro-independence rebels in the eastern region of Donbas.
The decree was prepared by Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council in accordance with the law on Donbas re-integration.
The controversial law on Donbas re-integration, which defines areas controlled by rebels in eastern Ukraine as "temporarily occupied territories," came into the force on Feb. 24.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has warned that the legislation could lead to an escalation of the confrontation in Donbas.
The conflict in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, together known as Donbas, started in April 2014, after government forces launched offensives to regain control of the cities and towns seized by armed groups which declared independence from Kiev.