Russian media continues to spread news, likely fake, of civilian casualties in Donbas

21 February 2022, 04:06 PM

Russian proxy forces in the Donbas have blamed the Ukrainian military for shelling non-government-controlled territory, resulting in the alleged death of civilians, Russian state-controlled media outlet RIA Novosti said on Feb. 20.

The outlet claims that the Ukrainian military allegedly made an attempt to attack proxy forces positions near the village of Pionerske, resulting in five residential buildings being destroyed, and civilian fatalities.

There is no evidence that these reports are true.

The Ukrainian military in the Donbas is currently under strict orders not to return fire if engaged, unless the situation displays an immediate risk to life.

Video of day

Earlier, Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief Valery Zaluzhny announced that Russia was preparing provocations in the non-government-controlled parts of the Donbas in order to create a pretext for a further invasion of Ukraine.

He said that civilians could become victims of such provocations.

Russian proxy forces in the Donbas have significantly stepped up the number of attacks on Ukrainian positions since Feb. 17, with over 136 attacks occurring on Feb. 19, resulting in the deaths of two Ukrainian service members.

At the same time, more than 3,400 citizens from the non-government-controlled parts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts were relocated to Russia’s Rostov Oblast allegedly due to Ukraine’s plans to launch an “offensive operation” in the Donbas.

Ukraine has denied such rumors, calling them a “false flag.” No evidence of any such offensive operation exists.

On Feb. 18, Russian media also reported about a car blast in the downtown of Donetsk, alleging it was a Ukrainian attempt to murder a proxy commander. However, the plates on the car, according to open source investigators, actually belonged to a different vehicle, and seem to have been affixed to a different car shortly before the blast.

The Ukrainian government’s Center for Strategic Communications, or Stratcom, said this was another deliberate provocation by Russian proxy forces.

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