Ukrainian tensions rose further on Friday as pro-Russian separatist leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) in the conflict-ridden Donbas region of eastern Ukraine said they were “approaching a major war.” .. General military mobilization and evacuation of civilians.
Denis Pushilin, head of DPR, told state-run Russian news channel Rossiya-24 on Friday that he believed that a war was about to break out in Donbas. according to Russian news agency Tas.
“Unfortunately, that’s right,” Psylin said when asked if he believed the situation in the area was heading for a “massive war.”
Psilin, along with the self-proclaimed head of the People’s Republic of Lugansk, Leonid Paseknik, ordered general mobilization in their respective conflict zones. Tass reported..
Mobilization orders ban men between the ages of 18 and 55 from leaving the area, while requiring local militias and troops to be fully prepared for combat.
In a video speech on Saturday, Mr. Psilin said, “I’m asking you to report to the conscription office of the reserve army,” adding that he has already signed a law on general mobilization.
The decree has also ordered the DPR administration to “shift the economy to function in wartime situations,” Tass reported, and the series of moves is the latest sign of heightened tensions in Ukraine. Is.
Separatist leaders in Donetsk and Lugansk both announced the evacuation of civilians to Russia on Friday, but senior Russian lawmakers said. Said on saturday Moscow claimed that “Russia does not want war,” but said it would “protect” Russian citizens and “brothers” in the two regions if their lives were at stake.
Western leaders were skeptical of Russia’s recurring remarks that it did not want war and did not seek an invasion of Ukraine.
President Joe Biden said on Friday that US intelligence officials believed Russia would invade Ukraine in the next few days and target the country’s capital, Kiev.
Biden added: “At this point I’m sure. [Putin]The decision was made to invade Ukraine.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin upheld Biden’s allegations in an interview with ABC News. Asked about the possibility of Russia’s aggression, Austin replied, “I don’t think it’s a bluff.”
Bombardment across the border between Ukrainian government forces and separatists surged this week, and the Kiev government called it a provocation.
In a video message posted on social media on Friday, Psylin claimed that the Ukrainian government plans to continue the attack in Donbas.
Ukrainian officials have strongly denied the proposal that Kiev could launch an attack in eastern Ukraine.
“We categorically refute Russia’s disinformation reports of offensive operations or sabotage at Ukrainian chemical manufacturing facilities,” wrote Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. twitter Friday. “Ukraine does not take or plan such actions in Donbas. We are committed to resolving diplomatic disputes only.”
Kreva went to Twitter again on Saturday, say it“Russia must escalate the security crisis it caused,” while vowing to take advantage of “every opportunity to protect Ukraine and avoid further escalation.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said at the Munich Security Conference, “We will see additional troops, including state-of-the-art troops, heading to the border,” while US Ambassador Michael Carpenter also said at another conference in Europe. He said that the reinforcement of Russian troops was “most important.” Military mobilization in Europe since World War II. “
More than 100,000 Russian troops have been stationed in the area along the border between Russia and Ukraine for about a month, and the number has recently increased to more than 190,000, according to US officials.
Biden has stated that U.S. forces will not be deployed in Ukraine, suggesting that the U.S. and its European partners continue to talk to the Kremlin, threatening heavy sanctions during the invasion, of diplomatic and deterrence. He states that he is working on a strategy.
Jack Phillips contributed to this report.