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18 Feb, 2022 15:01

Ukraine to launch military operation via breakaway Lugansk republic — militia leader

The evacuation of civilians from the neighboring region was announced earlier
Ukraine to launch military operation via breakaway Lugansk republic — militia leader

Ukrainian armed forces are planning a breakthrough into the territory of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic, the head of the breakaway region, Leonid Pasechnik, alleged on Friday. He provided no specific evidence for his assertion. 

A short time earlier, the leadership of the neighboring Donetsk People’s Republic called on civilians to evacuate to Russia in light of anticipated military aggression by Ukrainian forces.

Contrary to common sense and international agreements, the adversary continues to concentrate manpower and heavy equipment along the entire line of contact. By this moment, an impressive strike force has been formed by the adversary. According to the intelligence data, the Ukrainian aggressor plans to carry out not only provocations on the line of contact, but a breakthrough deep into our republic’s territory,” Pasechnik said in his address to the Lugansk People’s Republic residents.

He also called on civilians to move to Russian territory “as soon as possible,” adding that Russian authorities are prepared to “ensure organized reception and to provide accommodation on its territory” for the Lugansk People’s Republic’s residents.

I instruct the leaders of the territories, law enforcement agencies and emergency services to ensure an organized evacuation of social objects and to help the population get to border checkpoints,” he added.

Western countries have been accusing Russia over its alleged plans to invade Ukraine throughout the past months. Moscow has consistently denied the accusations, while Kiev admitted that it did not have intelligence data about an imminent attack. Despite Russia's announcement that some of the scheduled drills near the Ukrainian border had concluded and, consequently, the troops had started to return home, the UK and US kept saying that Russia was still looking for a pretext for an attack on Kiev.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba has categorically denied what he called 'Russian disinformation' regarding an alleged 'breakthrough'.

"We categorically refute Russian disinformation reports on Ukraine's alleged offensive operations," Kuleba said on Twitter.