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DPR Head Says Ukrainian Army May Launch Offensive at Any Minute

© REUTERS / UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERA tank of the Ukrainian armed forces fires during tactical military exercises at a training ground in the Rivne region, Ukraine February 16, 2022
A tank of the Ukrainian armed forces fires during tactical military exercises at a training ground in the Rivne region, Ukraine February 16, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 23.02.2022
Earlier this week, the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics reported numerous incidents of Ukrainian forces continuing to shell buildings, infrastructure, and positions of the republics' militias, leading to civilian casualties.
Denis Pushilin, head of the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), has warned of a possible offensive by the Ukrainian Army in the near future.
"The enemy is aggressive. At any moment, Ukraine could stage an offensive", Pushilin told reporters on Wednesday.
According to him, the number of attacks by the Ukrainian security forces has increased since Russia recognised the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics (LPR) as independent nations.
"How did Ukraine's armed forces react [to the recognition]? Well, during a Security Council meeting and an excursion into history by the Russian president, the impression was that they were watching very carefully, and there was no shelling. Shortly thereafter, the number of attacks and provocations grew", Pushilin said, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin's speech earlier this week recognising the independence of LPR and DPR.
He recalled that on Tuesday, the Ukrainian Army used Grad multiple launch rocket systems. "This has not happened for a long time, and this was a reaction pertaining to the recognition", the DPR head noted.
Additionally, Pushilin made it clear that the DPR is set to use any chance to ensure peace.
"We value peace like no one else, because we know what war is. Those mobilisation measures that we're currently carrying out are in the name of peace, in the name of the enemy seeing what they will have to face […]. We use any chance for peace, the only question is whether there is such a chance", he underscored.
The DPR head separately underscored that "at the moment, there are no Russian troops" in the Donbass republic.

"And before these events, all international observers, including those from the OSCE [Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe] itself, were looking for Russian troops here, but to no avail. As for the future, is it possible for Russian troops to be here? Maybe. When and under what circumstances? The situation will show how it will develop on the part of Ukraine", Pushilin stated.

He underlined that Russian servicemen have the right to be deployed to the DPR in accordance with the alliance agreement. "Currently, Russia has such a right within the framework of the agreement concluded between Moscow and the DPR", Pushilin said.

Ukrainian Army Continues to Shell DPR, LPR

The remarks come after President Vladimir Putin on Monday announced that Moscow is recognising the independence of DPR and LPR and signing friendship treaties with them, which include provisions for collective defence and security. Putin referred to Kiev's permanent refusal to follow the provisions of the 2015 Minsk peace agreements, also singling out continuing attacks by Ukrainian forces on the Donbass republics, which intensified drastically last week.
Over the past few days, both the DPR and LPR have reported the continuation of shelling of the republics' infrastructure by the Ukrainian Army, causing civilian casualties and the cutting off of gas and water supplies to a host of cities. The OSCE, for its part, reported over 2,000 ceasefire violations on the day the two republics were recognised.
Late last week, Pushilin and LPR head Leonid Pasechnik said that they had signed a decree on general mobilisation in the republics. The DPR head, in turn, said that "large-scale shelling by Ukraine of the territories of the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics is underway". He added that "in recent days only", DPR forces have prevented several attempted terrorist attacks by the Ukrainian special services.
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