The Ukrainian forces involved in the antiterrorist operation (ATO) in the east of Ukraine do not storm residential areas and do their best to avoid civilian casualties, said the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Arseniy Avakov.
“We do not use ATO forces to storm residential areas and we establish restrictions on attacking areas with civilians,” Arseniy Avakov told journalists at the entrance to Sloviansk in the Donetsk Oblast on Monday, May 5, reports Interfax Ukraine.
Avakov pointed out that these restrictions are significantly hindering the anti-terrorist operation. “We’re bound hand and foot by the fact that we’re surrounded by peaceful civilians. Some support us, some do not, but this does not matter to Ukrainian soldiers. They can’t shoot at peaceful citizens. This restriction is exploited by our enemies. They hide behind civilians and shoot from behind them. We can’t just take an area and clear it out by shooting blindly because there are residential buildings there,” he said.
He urged politicians and the media not to speculate on the subject of anti-terrorist operations. “When you’re dealing with this kind of war, I implore all those in the rear and not on the front lines — those who philosophize, who give advice — to understand the real situation. Our army has been systematically destroyed in recent years. We do not have normal armed forces and adequate special forces,” he said.
“What is happening now is military preparation — the first one in recent years. We can see who is a fraud and who really is unafraid. I appeal to all politicians and to journalists, to my colleagues in Kyiv and in the field. This is a very complex situation from which we must extricate ourselves somehow. Let’s not play games with this and let each one, in his own way, do what is needed. I want to say to the entire elite of Donetsk, to the elite of Luhansk, to all those in the East: don’t think that someone will solve your problems for you, some mythical people from the center. This problem must be resolved by all of us,” he said.