The head of Ukraine’s self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, Denis Pushilin, said that he’d signed a decree on general mobilisation in the republic.
“I urge fellow countrymen who are in reserve to come to the military commissariats. Today I signed a decree on general mobilisation,” Pushilin said.
He said that no matter how events develop, the DPR will be able to contain Ukraine’s aggression.
The second breakaway republic of Lugansk has made a similar decree.
The decrees come amid tension between the self-proclaimed Donbass republics and Ukraine.
The republics claim Ukraine is planning an imminent attack, an accusation Ukraine has denied as part of Russia’s plot to invade the country.
Thousands of people from Donetsk and Lugansk have had to leave their homes and are being evacuated to Russia due to alleged constant shelling by Ukrainian forces.
Russia’s Sputnik News said Kiev has repeatedly used 120mm mortars. banned by the Minsk accord, against the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR).
Over the past hours, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s Special Monitoring Mission (OSCE SMM) said it had registered 222 ceasefire violations in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, and 648 breaches of the truce in the Lugansk region.
As of Saturday morning, around 25,000 people have crossed the border with Russia from the LPR side.
Another 6,600 people, including almost 2,500 children have also left for Russia from the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic.
An extraordinary meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group has been called for Saturday morning, as tensions show no sign of abating.
The Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics announced the evacuation of their citizens to Russia’s Rostov Region over a dramatic escalation of tensions along the line of contact and a possible full-fledged offensive by the Ukrainian army.
On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Kiev needs to engage in dialogue with the self-proclaimed Donbass republics and come up with a common solution to end the ongoing conflict.
The situation on the line of contact between Ukraine and the DPR and LPR has worsened in the past days, after Kiev intensified shelling of the territories of the self-proclaimed republics.
Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists have been fighting in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine since 2014 in a conflict that Kyiv says has claimed some 15,000 lives.
Washington and its allies have raised fears that the upsurge in violence in the Donbass could form part of a Russian pretext to invade Ukraine.
Tensions are already high over a Russian military buildup to the north, east and south of Ukraine.
Moscow denies planning an invasion.
“We are very concerned by the reports of recent days – yesterday and the day before there was a sharp increase in shelling using weapons that are prohibited under the Minsk agreements,” Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said, referring to peace accords aimed at ending the conflict.
“So far we are seeing the special monitoring mission is doing its best to smooth over all questions that point to the blame of Ukraine’s armed forces,” he told a news conference.
Ukraine’s military on Friday denied violating the Minsk peace process and accused Moscow of waging an information war to say that Kyiv was shelling civilians, allegations it said were lies and designed to provoke it.
Russia has said it is pulling some troops away from areas near its borders with Ukraine following military exercises, but the West says that Moscow, on the contrary, is still building up its forces.
Source: News agencies
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