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Montevideo, August 17th 2022 - 20:03 UTC



Rebels evacuate Ukrainian civilians as violence escalates

Friday, February 18th 2022 - 20:55 UTC
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First of all women, children and the elderly must be evacuated, Pushilin explained First of all women, children and the elderly must be evacuated, Pushilin explained

Pro-Russian separatists in East Ukraine have started evacuating civilians towards Moscow, as an all-out war looks more imminent by the hour, according to leaders from the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) and Donetsk People's Republic (LPR) Denis Pushilin and Leonid Pasechnik respectively.

The rogue groups traded fresh accusations with Kiev of repeated shellings and ceasefire violations in the Donbas region.

The rebels denounced some 30 violations of the ceasefire by the Ukrainian army, which they say used mortars, artillery and tanks. The rogue groups also said Kiev was preparing an invasion.

“Today a massive and centralized departure of the population to the Russian Federation is organized, first of all women, children and the elderly must be evacuated,” explained Denis Pushilin in a video uploaded to his Telegram account.

On the opposite end of the conflict, the Ukrainian army reported 20 violations of the ceasefire by separatists between midnight and 9 a.m. local time (7 GMT) and said one soldier was injured in the allegedly 60 ceasefire violations on record in the Donbass region in the past 24 hours.

Observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) reported Thursday a total 189 ceasefire violations in the eastern Donetsk region, up from 24 the day before. In nearby Luhansk OSCE observers counted 402 violations against 129 Wednesday.

The Ukrainian army said late Thursday no attack on the rebels was being planned, let alone shelling civilian enclaves. Kiev insisted it wanted to “strictly respect the Minsk Agreements and the norms of international humanitarian law.

”Our actions are purely defensive,“ said the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Lieutenant General Valery Zaluzhny told reporters. Pushilin had said he had information that Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky will soon order troops to embark on an offensive against them, which would justify the evacuation of the non-combatant population.

A car belonging to one DPR leader blew up Friday, the Donetsk News Agency reported. ”That was Sinenkov’s car,“ the report cited a source as saying. The car’s owner was unharmed in the explosion, which was ”heard across the entire city.”

The DPR and LPR reported some of the most intensive shelling by Ukraine’s armed forces in recent months. There have been no reports of deaths but one civilian woman was injured and the shelling damaged some civilian facilities, Russia's Tass agency reported.

The ceasefire in Donbass, a region on the east border between Ukraine and Russia with two self-proclaimed republics has been breached time and again since it was signed in 2015. Since the separatist conflict broke out, more than 14,000 people have been killed in clashes between the Ukrainian army and the rebel militias, which control the two provinces after taking up arms to overthrow Ukraine's previous government in a wave of protests dating back to 2014.

Categories: Politics, International.

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