After launching escalation, Russian proxies prepare to evacuate civilians, Ukraine’s Army chief says

The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Lieutenant-General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi. Source: 5 channel 

War in Donbas

Editor’s Note

The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Lieutenant-General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi has issued an official statement about the escalation of shelling in the Donbas, stating that Ukrainian forces are conducting exclusively defensive actions while any shelling is a provocation by Russian occupational forces.

He also stated that Russian-led militants in Donbas prepare to evacuate civilians, anticipating the aggravation of the situation.

Ukrainian kindergarten and school hit as Russian-hybrid forces escalate hostilities all over Donbas

The full official statement says:

According to the L/DNR, evacuation of the local population is planned in some settlements in the temporarily occupied territory, in particular in Donetsk, due to possible aggravation of the situation.

We officially announce: The Armed Forces of Ukraine strictly adhere to the Minsk agreements and norms of international humanitarian law, do not plan any offensive operations or shelling of civilians. Our actions are exclusively defensive.

The occupying state of the Russian Federation is responsible for the situation in the temporarily occupied territories.

Any damage that may be done to people or infrastructure in the temporarily occupied territories is a provocation.

The Ukrainian side informs international organizations about the preparation of such provocations.

As of 7 PM on 17 February, 47 violations of the ceasefire by the Russian occupation forces have been recorded, 38 of which involved weapons prohibited by the Minsk agreements. The enemy targeted social infrastructure and wounded two civilians. At the same time, using disinformation and propaganda, the Russian occupation administrations accuse the Armed Forces of Ukraine of shelling civilians.

Gross violations of the Minsk agreements by the Russian occupation forces that have taken place during the current day must be investigated. This will allow for more effective action in the future to maintain the ceasefire.

The Ukrainian delegation to the Tripartite Contact Group (TCG) requested the OSCE TCG Coordinator to convene an extraordinary meeting of the working group on security issues, followed by a TCG meeting on ceasefire violations on 17 February.

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