Thursday, February 17, 2022

Pro-Russian separatists accuse Kiev of shelling Lugansk

 Pro-Russian separatists claim that Ukraine fired on four towns in the "People's Republic" of Lugansk. Ukraine vehemently denies these reports.

"Ukraine's armed forces have brutally violated the ceasefire agreements by using heavy weapons, which - according to the Minsk agreements - should be withdrawn" - said representatives of the region, cited by the Interfax agency.

The separatists did not report whether anyone was killed or injured because of the alleged shelling.

"The enemy, on direct orders from Kyiv's military-political leadership, is attempting to escalate the conflict," - said Yan Leshchenko, head of the People's Militia Department of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic on Thursday. He added that the situation is "exacerbating rapidly" and, guided by "protecting civilians, the DPR forces have been forced to organize a counterattack."

Information about four attacks was also provided by the news agency RIA Novosti and the Internet portal Sputnik, but they are not confirmed by any reliable Western sources. 

Ukrainian government officials vehemently denied the reports. "Even though our positions were fired upon with forbidden weapons, including 122 mm artillery, the Ukrainian military did not respond with fire," said a spokesman for the Ukrainian armed forces.

Kyiv also reported that "unmanned aerial vehicles were used to fire at the Ukrainian army, with which they dropped VOG-17 and VOG-25 missiles," and separatists "opened fire on positions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces with mounted anti-tank grenade launchers, heavy machine guns, and grenade launchers. "

Projectiles fired by Russia-backed separatists in Donbas hit a kindergarten in Stanica Luhanskaya

Ukrainian authorities said there had been a total of eight similar incidents on February 16 and said separatists were seeking to escalate the current crisis.