Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics Leaders Order Civilian Evacuation in Face of Ukrainian Shelling
Feb. 18, 2022 (EIRNS)—The violence in Donbas has escalated to the point that the leaders of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics have ordered an evacuation of civilians to Russia, according to Sputnik today. Donetsk leader Pushilin said in a video statement, “When the enemy is shelling the settlements of the republic, the life and health of our citizens may be endangered. Therefore, from today, Feb. 18, a mass centralized evacuation of the population to the Russian Federation has been organized. First of all, women, children and the elderly will be evacuated.” The D.P.R. head added that facilities that will host the population are ready in Russia’s Rostov region “as agreed with Russian authorities.”
L.P.R. chief Leonid Pasechnik said that Ukrainian forces have been planning to break into the republic and urged residents to evacuate to Russia. “In order to prevent civilian casualties, I call on residents of the republics who do not have orders to be on alert, and who are not involved in the life support of social and civilian infrastructure, to go to the Russian Federation as soon as possible,” Pasechnik said. He also asked all men who are able to hold weapons to defend the republic.
According to reports from the Donetsk News Agency, Donetsk city is under heavy bombardment. D.P.R. military authorities said that 46 mortar and grenade rounds hit the city during a 35-minute period at mid-day. Shelling in other parts of the territory cut a rail line between the two republics and cut off power in another area.
On the Kyiv side, the Ukrainian military command claimed that the “militants” violated the ceasefire 45 times, including 34 times with prohibited weapons.