Putin Saved Thousands of Lives in Donbass Republics, Pre-Maidan Ukrainian Prime Minister Says
08:29 GMT 04.03.2022 (Updated: 09:30 GMT 04.03.2022)
© Sputnik / Ilya Pitalev / Go to the mediabankArmed people patrol the railway platform while residents wait for a train at the station in Makeevka to evacuate to Russia
© Sputnik / Ilya Pitalev/
On 24 February, Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine in response to calls from the Donbass republics to protect them from intensifying attacks by Ukrainian troops.
Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolay Azarov has stated that Russian President Vladimir Putin has saved thousands of lives in the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics (DPR and LPR) by ordering a special military operation in Ukraine.
"Only now do we have an opportunity to make public intelligence data on the preparation of a provocation followed by a treacherous strike with the destruction of the population in the territory of LPR and DPR. Putin outpaced Ukraine and NATO and actually saved hundreds of thousands of lives of the [Donbass] republics", Azarov wrote on his Facebook page, in an apparent nod to the ongoing Russian special operation.
According to him, the plan for Ukraine's attack on DPR and LPR was developed by Kiev jointly with the US.
Azarov added that a week before the start of Russia's special military operation, DPR forces reported the interception of a Ukrainian Army map, which elaborated on the details of its full-scale attack on the Donbass republics.
"There is a conviction that this plan was developed together with NATO curators, since the Americans had previously deployed about 5,000 US soldiers to Poland", Azarov stated.
Russia's Special Operation in Ukraine
The Russian specia;l military operation was ordered by President Putin on 24 February to protect DPR and LPR from Kiev's forces following their request for assistance amid growing attacks by the Ukrainian Army on their positions and infrastructure.
Putin said that the goal of the operation is to demilitarise and "de-Nazify" Ukraine, stressing that Russia is not going to occupy its neighbour.
Russia's Defence Ministry, in turn, stressed that the nation's high-precision strikes targeting Ukrainian military infrastructure do not pose a threat to the civilian population.
Earlier this week, Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said that DPR and LPR forces, with fire support from the Russian military, continue their offensive on Ukrainian Army units, taking control of more settlements. Since 24 February, 62 aircraft as well as 606 tanks and other armoured vehicles of the Ukrainian Army have been destroyed, with manpower losses standing at more than 2,870, Konashenkov said, adding that 498 Russian servicemen have killed in the special operation.
President Putin, for his part, said on Thursday that the operation in Ukraine is going according to plan, and that all the tasks are being implemented "successfully".
"Our soldiers fight steadfastly, with a full understanding of the justice of their cause, even after being wounded, they remain in formation, sacrifice themselves [...] in order to save comrades and civilians", he emphasised, adding that Russian troops are striving to prevent civilian casualties in Ukraine.