The leader of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” Alexander Zakharchenko threatens to launch an offensive on Ukraine-controlled areas of Donbas, Joinfo.com reports with reference to the Russian news agency Interfax.
“We have always said that the liberation of the occupied territories of Donetsk and Lugansk regions [by which he means the Ukrainian government-controlled territory of the regions] – is our collective task and we have always said that it is desirable to do it by political means. But if they [Ukrainian government] do not understand it, then let me remind you that we can do it and the military means,” – Zakharchenko said during a press conference in Luhansk on Friday, according to Interfax.
He noted that “due to the blockade, which is carried out the Kyiv authorities,” the self-proclaimed republic authorities appeared entitled “to do it on their own.”
According to Zakharchenko, today the leaders of the so-called “republics of Donbas” for the first time have declared their not unfounded rights to the territory of Luhansk and Donetsk regions, but “also proved it by deeds that they have not forgotten about it.”
“I think that the world leaders, and particularly of Europe, will reflect about this stuff, and I think in the next few hours there will heavy mental work there, which will enable [them] to decide something in about four days,” – said Zakharchenko.
In addition, the separatists demanded access to the infrastructure located in the territories controlled by Kyiv, claiming that any damage to that enterprises would jeopardize the safety of the inhabitants of the so-called republics.
The combined Russian-separatist forces attacked Ukrainian army positions in Donbas 66 times in the past 24 hours with three Ukrainian soldiers reported as killed in action and ten wounded, according to the press service of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Headquarters, Joinfo.com reports with reference to UNIAN.
In the Donetsk sector, they fired mortars of various calibers on the town of Avdiyivka and the villages of Kam’anka, Pisky, Zaitseve, and Verkhniotoretske.
“The Russian occupation forces shelled rocket-propelled grenades and small arms on Kamianka, Zaitseve, Avdiyivka and Pisky. A sniper was active in Zaitseve. Additionally, the Ukrainian positions near Avdiyivka were attacked by a tank,” the report says.
On the Mariupol line, the militants opened fire from 120mm and 82mm mortars on the villages of Shyrokyne and Pavlopil, and rocket-propelled grenades and small arms – on the town of Mar’inka, and the villages of Novotroyitske, Novoselivka, Vodiane, Lebedynske, Shyrokyne, Pavlopil and Hnutove. Armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles were used to attack Shyrokyne. Furthermore, enemy anti-tank missile systems shelled the village of Bohdanivka.
In the Luhansk sector, the occupiers used 120mm and 82mm mortars in the village of Krymske, as well as rocket-propelled grenades and small arms in the villages of Lobacheve, Novozvanivka, Stanytsia Luhanska and Novo-Oleksandrivka.
In Ukraine, one million children are in, which is almost twice as many as last year, according to the press service of the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Joinfo.com reports with reference to Ukrinform.
“While the conflict continues with varying intensity in eastern Ukraine, a million children are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance – which is almost twice more than last year,” reads a statement.
This increase happens due to the ongoing fighting and the constant deterioration of the living conditions in the east of Ukraine, where about 1.7 million people were forced to move to other regions of the country, UNICEF explained.
“The shelling of schools, the one place where children find safety and normalcy during conflict, is unacceptable and has to stop. Children in eastern Ukraine have suffered enough and we must ensure that they have safe spaces to seek solace and support,” Giovanna Barberis, UNICEF’s Representative in Ukraine, said.