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Ukrainian top brass warns Russian proxy forces prepared to stage terrorist acts in Donbas

Russian occupied Donbas in 2017. Photo by RBK
Ukrainian top brass warns Russian proxy forces prepared to stage terrorist acts in Donbas
Russian special services have mined a number of social infrastructure facilities in Donetsk in order to blow them up and accuse Ukraine, the Main Intelligence Service of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine announced on 18 February.

According to the Service, these measures are aimed in particular at creating grounds for accusing Ukraine of terrorist attacks. Ukrainian military commanders have issued their statements to residents of Donbas, all Ukrainian citizens as well as the international community.

The report and statements come after Russia’s occupation forces started evacuating civilians to Russia in the morning of 18 February 2022, claiming that Ukrainian troops are “arrayed for battle” and only wait for Zelenskyy’s order to go on the offensive in the near future.

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

The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valeriy Zaluzhnyi addressed the residents of the occupied part of Donbas and reiterated that the military-political leadership of the state does not plan or conduct offensive operations in Eastern Ukraine. In his appeal to the residents of the occupied part of Donbas, Zalyzhnyi stated that Russian occupational forces continue to aggravate the situation, deliberately misleading the inhabitants of the temporarily occupied territories.

“I repeat once again that the military-political leadership of Ukraine does not plan or conduct offensive operations in the east of the country. The only acceptable option for us is a political and diplomatic way to deoccupy our people and territories. The offensive in Donbas will inevitably result in civilian casualties, so such scenarios are not even considered. Ukraine has been and is committed to the principles and norms of international law and human morality. For us, unlike the occupiers, the lives of Ukrainian citizens throughout our country and beyond are the highest value,” he stated.

Олександр Павлюк - новий командувач операції Об'єднаних сил - Мілітарний
The сommander of the Joint Forces operation Oleksandr Pavliuk. Source: Militarnyi

In the evening the сommander of the Joint Forces operation Oleksandr Pavliuk appealed to the Ukrainian people, reporting about a high probability of terrorist acts organized by Russia in Donbas, the purpose of which is to accuse the Ukrainian military of doing so:

Dear Ukrainians, I have to publicly address you with important information. Two days of provocative attacks by the occupiers did not bring them the desired result. No Ukrainian ammunition fell on civilian infrastructure. The Ukrainian military withstood, despite the fact that most of the shelling was from settlements. Enemy guns and mortars fired from residential areas, but the Ukrainian military did not shoot at civilians. At the moment, the occupiers are gathering vulnerable children, women and the elderly under the guise of evacuation. According to our intelligence, there is a high probability of terrorist acts aimed at killing civilians and accusing the Ukrainian military of doing so. Unfortunately, we are unable to verify this information or influence it, so I appeal to all of you in the hope that exposing these possible plans will save lives. Glory to Ukraine,” Pavliuk said.

The Public Relations Service of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine urges Donetsk residents not to leave their homes and not to use public transport.

The development is likely a false-flag operation started by Russia to accuse Ukraine and have an excuse for invasion. The same tactic was used before the Russian invasion and bombing of Georgia in 2008, Ukrainian historian of Russian repressions Vakhtang Kipiani has warned in his Facebook post.

“Four days before Russia began bombing Georgia and deploying its troops in 2008, their collaborators also “evacuated women and children.” I hope that the Ukrainian Headquarters remember this,” Kipiani stated.

The evacuation of Donbas residents was announced this afternoon by “DNR head” Denis Pushilin in the video. Later in the day journalists found that the video was recorded on February 16th, two days before its publication. This is evidenced by the metadata of the video.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy has ordered representatives of the Verkhovna Rada, some ministers and the Secretary of the National Security Defence Council (RNBO) Oleksiy Danilov to go to the front line tomorrow. They will visit the affected cities, where Ukrainian infrastructure has been damaged. The RNBO didn’t report about other purposes of the visit.

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