The NATO supported Ukrainian military fired mortar shells and grenades at four localities in the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (at 2:30 a.m. GTM on Thursday), according to the Joint Center for Control and Coordination.
The deterioration comes amid tense relations between Russia and NATO, whose members have been claiming that Moscow is planning an invasion of Ukraine.
Moscow has repeatedly denied the accusations, warning of the possibility of provocations by Kiev in a bid to resolve the conflict in Donbass by force.
The militia of the Lugansk People’s Republic stated that the situation in the region has deteriorated significantly over the past day, as Kiev is trying to escalate the conflict.
The republic urged international observers to record the attack and take measures to prevent aggression by Ukraine. LNR authorities stressed that by using heavy weaponry, Ukraine is also violating the ceasefire measures struck in 2020.
An LPR representative also told Sputnik that Kiev is demonstrating an intention to use foreign military assistance to resolve the Donbass conflict by force.
In the meantime, the People’s Militia of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) said its troops returned fire at the points of the Ukrainian security forces. In order to protect the civilian population, our defenders returned fire to suppress the enemy’s firepower.
Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier stressed that the Minsk agreements, struck between Kiev and the self-proclaimed republics in 2015 to stop the bloodshed, represent the only possible solution to the conflict, but Kiev does not want to fulfill them.
According to Putin, Ukraine has been dragging out negotiations to resolve the conflict, and against this backdrop, NATO has been deploying military equipment closer to the border with Russia.
The conflict in eastern Ukraine began in 2014, after a coup d’etat in Kiev. Donetsk and Lugansk refused to recognize the new government and proclaimed their independence from Ukraine. In response, Kiev launched a military operation.
The genocidal war claimed at least 31,000 lives, while over 2.5 million civilians were either internally or externally displaced, hundreds of thousands of them taking refuge and being granted Russian citizenship.
Last month, Moscow warned that it would not tolerate any provocations by Kiev in Donbass, or any attacks against Russian citizens living there.
Sputnik / ABC Flash Point News 2022.