News   /   Russia

Russia warns of 'alarming' situation in eastern Ukraine as Kiev continues to shell Donbass

A view shows a residential building that was damaged in the town of Vrubivka, in the Luhansk region, Ukraine, on February 17. (Photo by Reuters)

Russia has voiced serious concern about the unfolding situation in eastern Ukraine, as Kiev continues to shell the Donbass region for the second day running.

Both Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov addressed the situation in the Donbass region on Friday amid intense fighting between the Western-backed Ukrainian forces and ethnic Russians in the region.

There were reports of explosions and damaged civilian buildings in the frontline on Friday.

"What is happening in the Donbass, I repeat once again, is very disturbing news, which really causes a feeling of alarm and is potentially very dangerous," Peskov said.

Lavrov told a news conference in Moscow that weapons prohibited under the Minsk peace agreement were being used in the fighting against pro-Russians.

"We are very concerned by the reports of recent days; yesterday and the day before, there was a sharp increase in shelling using weapons that are prohibited under the Minsk agreements," Lavrov said, referring to the peace accords aimed at ending the eight-years of conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Residents being evacuated to Russia

The leader of the ethnic Russians said that authorities would begin evacuating civilians to Russia as fears of a large-scale conflict grow.

"From today, a mass centralized departure of the population to the Russian Federation has been organized," Denis Pushilin said in a video message on Telegram. "Women, children and the elderly are subject to be evacuated first."

The leader of the Lugansk region also urged residents on Friday to evacuate to Russia.

"To prevent civilian casualties, I call on residents of the republic... to leave for the Russian Federation as soon as possible," Leonid Pasechnik said in a statement.

More than 20 residences were damaged by shelling attacks around the village of Stanytsia Luganska on Thursday.

Situation in eastern Ukraine deteriorating: Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned on Friday that the situation was "deteriorating" in eastern Ukraine.

"Right now, we are seeing a deterioration of the situation" in eastern Ukraine, the president said at a press conference with his Belarusian counterpart, Alexander Lukashenko, in Moscow.

The president said that the West and its allies were "not yet inclined to look seriously at these key security demands."

Late last year, Russia asked the United States for certain security guarantees in an attempt to defuse the escalation of tensions over Ukraine. Russia demanded promises from the West that NATO won't expand eastward. It has also called on the US to commit to pulling out all of its troops from Central and Eastern Europe.

The United States delivered a reply in late January in coordination with NATO allies to Russia. The Russian president, however, said the West had ignored Moscow's key concerns in its response.

The United States keeps accusing Russia of planning to attack Ukraine by stationing as many as 190,000 troops in and around Ukraine's borders. Russia has rejected the allegations, saying the military build-up is defensive in nature.

In a major step to de-escalate the situation, Moscow announced last week that some of the troops deployed in areas bordering Ukraine would return to their bases. It also released footage showing tanks and armored vehicles being loaded onto railway flatcars.

The US and its NATO allies, however, claim they have seen no significant withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine's border.

Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

Press TV News Roku