Kiev Preparing Offensive, Restricts Exit of Those Liable for Military Service, Donetsk Says

© Sputnik / Sergey Averin / Go to the mediabankDonbass
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DONETSK (Sputnik) - The people's militia of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic said on Thursday that Kiev had restricted the exit of citizens liable for military service from Ukraine due to preparations for an offensive in Donbass.
In order to achieve goals in Donbass, Kiev is ready to put the whole country "under arms," the militia's spokesman said. On 1 February, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky signed a decree to increase the armed forces of Ukraine by another 100,000 people and create an additional 20 brigades, their staffing requires significant human resources.
"According to our undercover intelligence, on 2 February, the head of the State Border Service of Ukraine [Serhii] Deineko ordered to limit the exit of conscripted male citizens aged 18 to 45 from the country from February 20," the spokesman told reporters.
He added that in order to avoid panic among the population, the reasons for refusing to leave the country are: the lack of information on issued visas in the database, the alleged presence of cases of administrative offenses, unresolved property disputes and other reasons. The military registration and enlistment offices are updating the lists of citizens subject to mobilisation.
"In addition, we have information that the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry is preparing diplomatic notes to the embassies of foreign countries, in which Kiev asks for assistance in returning Ukrainian citizens of draft age to the country," the spokesman said.
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According to the people’s militia of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), artillery units of the Ukrainian security forces are conducting reconnaissance of the area on the front edge of the line of contact in Donbass.
"Despite the desire of the command of the Ukrainian armed forces to hide the implementation of measures to create strike groups, we constantly receive information confirming the preparation of the Ukrainian armed forces for offensive operations. The intelligence of the People's Militia of the DPR received information about conducting a reconnaissance of the area on the front line of defense with the commanders of artillery units of the enemy," a militia representative told reporters.
Tensions in the region have been escalating over the past few weeks amid Western speculations that Russia is planning an invasion of Ukraine. Moscow has repeatedly rejected the allegations as groundless and accused the West of planning a provocation in Donbass. The conflict in eastern Ukraine flared up in the spring of 2014 after Donetsk and Lugansk proclaimed their independence. Kiev launched a military operation against the independence-seeking forces in the country's east after the Western-backed coup in February 2014. The war resulted in the deaths of more than 30,000 people, with tens of thousands more injured, and more than 2.5 million residents displaced.
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