Ukrainian military officials flee to bomb shelter after government-held regions shelled

Ukrainian soldiers are seen at combat positions near the line of separation from Russian-backed rebels, near the village of Bohdanivka in the Donetsk region, on Feb. 19, 2022.VALENTYN OGIRENKO/Reuters

Top Ukrainian military officials came under a shelling attack during a tour of the front of the separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine.

The officials fled to a bomb shelter before hustling from the area, according to journalist from The Associated Press who was on the tour.

Earlier Saturday, separatist leaders in eastern Ukraine ordered a full military mobilization amid a spike of violence in the war-torn region and fears in the West that Russia might use the strife as a pretext for an invasion.

Biden ‘convinced’ Putin will invade Ukraine as Donbas region ordered evacuated

Ukraine says Russian-backed separatists to blame after shelling hits kindergarten

U.S. says Russia planning to fake attack as excuse to invade Ukraine

Ukraine and the two regions held by the Russia-backed rebels each accused the other of escalation. Russia on Saturday said at least two shells fired from a government-held part of eastern Ukraine landed across the border.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba dismissed the claim as “a fake statement.”

Denis Pushilin, the head of the pro-Russia separatist government in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, cited an “immediate threat of aggression” from Ukrainian forces in his troop-mobilization announcement. Ukrainian officials vehemently denied having plans to take rebel-controlled areas by force.

“I appeal to all the men in the republic who can hold weapons to defend their families, their children, wives, mothers,” Pushilin said. “Together we will achieve the coveted victory that we all need.”

A similar statement followed from his counterpart in the Luhansk region. With an estimated 150,000 Russian troops now posted around Ukraine’s borders, the long-simmering separatist conflict could provide the spark for a broader attack.

The separatists and Ukrainian forces have been fighting for almost eight years. But the violence along the line of contact separating the two sides, including a humanitarian convoy hit by shelling, has risen in recent days.

“They are uncoiling and are now poised to strike,” U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said during a visit to Lithuania, where he assured the three Baltic nations they would not be on their own if faced with security threats from Russia.

Ukraine’s military said shelling killed a soldier Saturday in the government-held part of the Donetsk region and that separatist forces were placing artillery in residential areas to try and provoke a response.

On Friday, the rebels began evacuating civilians to Russia with an announcement that appeared to be part of their and Moscow’s efforts to paint Ukraine as the aggressor.

U.S. President Joe Biden said late Friday that based on the latest American intelligence he was now “convinced” that Russian President Vladimir Putin has decided to invade Ukraine and assault the capital, Kyiv.

“As of this moment, I’m convinced he’s made the decision,” Biden said. “We have reason to believe that.” He reiterated that the assault could occur in the “coming days.”

In a sign of heightened worry about an invasion, the NATO military alliance relocated staff of its liaison office in Kyiv to a city in western Ukraine and to Brussels. A NATO official told The Associated Press that safety of its personnel was the top concern.

“We do not fully know what President Putin intends, but the omens are grim, and that is why we must stand strong together,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told officials attending the annual Munich Security Conference on Saturday.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris at the conference. Harris called the unfolding events “a decisive moment in history” and warned Russia that it would face “unprecedented” financial costs if it attacked Ukraine.

Ukrainian officials pushed back against the separatists’ suggestion that Ukraine initiated the latest violence in the country’s east. “We are fully committed to diplomatic conflict resolution only,” Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted.

Ukraine’s ruling party, Servant of the People, echoed his sentiment in an online statement Saturday and accused Russia of “trying to artificially create a pretext for a full-scale aggression against Ukraine.”

Meanwhile, Russia conducted massive nuclear drills on Saturday. The Kremlin said Putin, who pledged to protect Russia’s national interests against what it sees as encroaching Western threats, was watching the drills together with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko from the situation room in the Kremlin.

Notably, the planned exercise involves the Crimea-based Black Sea Fleet. Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula after seizing it from Ukraine in 2014. .

Underscoring the West’s concerns of an imminent invasion, a U.S. defence official said an estimated 40 per cent to 50 per cent of the ground forces deployed in the vicinity of the Ukrainian border have moved into attack positions closer to the border.

The shift has been under way for about a week, other officials have said, and does not necessarily mean Putin has decided to begin an invasion. The defence official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal U.S. military assessments.

The official also said the number of Russian ground units known as battalion tactical groups in the border area had grown to as many as 125, up from 83 two weeks ago. Each group has 750 to 1,000 soldiers.

Lines of communication between Moscow and the West remain open: the American and Russian defence chiefs spoke Friday. French President Emmanuel Macron scheduled a phone call with Putin on Sunday. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov agreed to meet next week.

Immediate worries focused on eastern Ukraine, where Ukrainian forces have been fighting the pro-Russia rebels since 2014 in a conflict that has killed some 14,000 people. Violations of a 2015 ceasefire agreement, including shelling and shooting along the line of contact, have been common.

However, violence has escalated in recent days. A bombing struck a car outside the main government building in the rebel-held city of Donetsk on Friday. The head of the separatist forces, Denis Sinenkov, said the car was his, the Interfax news agency reported. Targeted violence is unusual in rebel-held cities.

Adding to the tensions, two explosions shook the rebel-controlled city of Luhansk early Saturday. The Luhansk Information Center said one of the blasts was in a natural gas main. The centre cited witnesses as saying the other was at a vehicle service station.

There were no immediate reports of casualties and no independent confirmation of the circumstances of the three blasts. Luhansk officials blamed a gas main explosion earlier in the week on sabotage.

By Saturday morning, the separatists in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, which form Ukraine’s industrial heartland known as the Donbas, said that thousands of residents of the rebel-controlled areas had been evacuated to Russia.

More than 6,600 people had been evacuated from Donetsk, and some 25,000 people have left Luhansk, with 10,000 preparing to leave, separatist officials said.

Separatist officials announced plans Friday to evacuate hundreds of thousands of people. Russia has issued about 700,000 passports to residents of the rebel-held territories. Claims that Russian citizens are being endangered might be used as justification for military action.

Pushilin, the head of the Donetsk rebel government, said women, children and the elderly would go first, and that Russia has prepared facilities for them. Pushilin alleged in a video statement that Ukraine was going to order an imminent offensive in the area.

Metadata from two videos posted by the separatists announcing the evacuation show that the files were created two days ago, The Associated Press confirmed. U.S. authorities have alleged that the Kremlin’s effort to come up with an invasion pretext could include staged, pre-recorded videos.

Authorities in Russia’s Rostov region declared a state of emergency because of the influx of evacuees. Media reports on Saturday morning described chaos at some of the summer camps assigned to accommodate the people from eastern Ukraine.

The reports said there were long lines of buses and hundreds of people waiting in the cold for hours on end to be housed without access to food or bathroom facilities. Some of the camps were said to have run out of space.

Putin ordered the Russian government to offer 10,000 rubles (about $130) to each evacuee, an amount equivalent to about half of an average monthly salary in the war-ravaged Donbas region.


Ukraine says Russian-backed separatists to blame after shelling hits kindergarten in Stanytsia Luhanska and that videos of fleeing civilians made in separatist-controlled areas of Donetsk are manufactured.

The Globe and Mail

Note: This article have been indexed to our site. We do not claim legitimacy, ownership or copyright of any of the content above. To see the article at original source Click Here

Related Posts

Coronavirus news blog for Bavaria: No more mask requirement in class

Inzidenz steigt auf 90,1Montag, 4. Oktober, 7.04 Uhr: Die Sieben-Tage-Inzidenz im Freistaat steigt weiterhin leicht. Zu Wochenbeginn liegt sie nach Angaben des Robert-Koch-Instituts bei 90,1. Die bundesweite Inzidenz liegt bei 64,7. Der Unterschied der Infektionszahlen nach Ungeimpften und Geimpften ist weiterhin extrem groß. Während der Sieben-Tage-Wert bei den Ungeimpften bei 194,6 liegt, ist er bei…
Read More
Pennsylvania Senate candidate Fetterman says he had a stroke thumbnail

Pennsylvania Senate candidate Fetterman says he had a stroke

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the leading Democrat in the state’s high-profile Senate contest, suffered a stroke just days before the primary election but was on his way to a “full recovery,” his campaign said on Sunday. The 52-year-old Fetterman, who confirmed that he had been hospitalized all weekend, insisted the…
Read More
Barcelos.  A man pestered Santiago pilgrims with sexual acts thumbnail

Barcelos. A man pestered Santiago pilgrims with sexual acts

O Comando Territorial da Guarda Nacional Republicana (GNR) de Braga, através da Secção de Prevenção Criminal e Policiamento Comunitário de Barcelos, ontem, dia 6 de outubro, constituiu arguido um homem de 28 anos por importunação sexual. No seguimento de várias denúncias pela prática de importunação sexual nos Caminhos de Santiago, nomeadamente nas freguesias a norte…
Read More
Catholic Church Losing Latin America... thumbnail

Catholic Church Losing Latin America…

RIO DE JANEIRO—Tatiana Aparecida de Jesus used to walk the city’s streets as a sex worker, high on crack cocaine. Last year, the mother of five joined a small Pentecostal congregation in downtown Rio called Sanctification in the Lord and left her old life behind. “The pastor hugged me without asking anything,” said Ms. de…
Read More
Omicron ... 2: The subdivision that worries scientists and where it has been identified thumbnail

Omicron … 2: The subdivision that worries scientists and where it has been identified

Ελλάδα #TAGS: Κορωνοϊός Μετάλλαξη Omicron Μεταλλάξεις Best Of Network O …αποσκελετωμένος ιχνηλάτης Απόστολος Βακάκης και η «δίαιτα» της Jumbo στα κινέζικα Κορωνοϊός – Εμβόλιο: Πόσες ημέρες μετά την τρίτη δόση έχουμε ανοσία Σάλος με επιχειρηματία για το story του με τα 417 χλμ/ώρα σε δημόσιο δρόμο - Δείτε το video 5 τρόφιμα που δεν πρέπει…
Read More
The Zikoko Guide: Nigerian Music Industry 101 thumbnail

The Zikoko Guide: Nigerian Music Industry 101

Dear artiste, we made you a music industry guide for free; your blow-up is now in your hands. Last Updated June 7, 2023 Are you a newbie looking to become a star in the Nigerian music scene? We have a guide to help you navigate the industry. Always throw salutes Be humble. As you climb
Read More
Index Of News
Consider making some contribution to keep us going. We are donation based team who works to bring the best content to the readers. Every donation matters.
Donate Now

Subscription Form

Liking our Index Of News so far? Would you like to subscribe to receive news updates daily?

Total
0
Share