Russia tries to provoke the attack of the Ukrainian army, according to Kiev

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Servicemen of the Ukrainian Air Assault Forces take part in tactical exercises at a training ground at an undisclosed location in Ukraine, in this file photo issued February 18, 2022. Ukrainian Air Assault Forces News Service/Handout via REUTERS

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KYIV, Feb 18 (Reuters) – Ukraine’s top security official Oleksiy Danilov on Friday accused Russia of staging provocations in eastern Ukraine to try to induce the Ukrainian military to react, but added that Kiev would stick to peaceful means to defuse the crisis.

Speaking alongside him at a joint briefing, Integration Minister for the Temporarily Occupied Territories Iryna Vereshchuk said Russia was trying to force Ukraine into concessions and Moscow was refusing to engage in peace talks.

Citing Ukrainian intelligence, Oleksandr Pavlyuk, the head of the Ukrainian army command in eastern Ukraine, said there was a high chance of future provocations causing civilian casualties.

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On Friday, Russian-backed leaders in eastern Ukraine crowded civilians into buses and said they wanted to evacuate 700,000 people, heightening Western fears that Russia could create a pretext to launch a large-scale military offensive.

A Russian UAZ jeep also exploded in front of the government building of the self-declared breakaway republic of Donetsk.

“Everything that is stirred up today by the Russian Federation through its proteges in the territory of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions is an attempt to provoke our armed forces, our troops into responses that they really wanted us to make “Danilov said.

“There is no order to liberate our territories by force,” he said.

Echoing previous statements by Ukrainian officials, Danilov said a full-scale invasion of Ukraine was unlikely, but Ukraine was ready for further provocations.

As residents of eastern Ukraine were evacuated to Russia, Vereshchuk said Ukraine was willing to receive them instead and called on the international community to allow a wider corridor for civilians to cross. government territory.

She also called on Germany and France to help strengthen the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) conflict monitoring mission in eastern Ukraine.

“The Russian occupiers are aggravating the situation, creating an information backdrop on which panic moods begin,” Vereshchuk said.

Russia is trying to “undermine the situation, to force us to make concessions,” Vereshchuk said.

“I want to say to those people who are now deciding what to do, I say to those people who are in the temporarily occupied territory… Come to us… We are waiting for you, we will create all possible conditions for you to have a place to live, where to eat, so that you feel that you are not alone.”

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Written by Matthias Williams; edited by Philippa Fletcher

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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