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Russia: Ukraine plans to blow up buildings in eastern city of Kramatorsk, accuse Moscow of war crimes

Ukrainian forces prepare a United States-supplied M777 howitzer to fire at Russian positions in the southern Ukrainian region of Kherson, January 9, 2023. (Photo by AP)

Russia has warned that Ukraine is planning to carry out a false-flag operation in which it will blow up buildings in the eastern city of Kramatorsk, before blaming it on Moscow.

Russia's Defense Ministry sounded the alarm on Sunday, saying the mock operation is designed to target three medical buildings, namely two dispensaries and one hospital, in Kramatorsk.

Kiev would then "accuse Russia of an allegedly 'deliberate attack' on civilian objects" and committing war crimes, the ministry said.

"The bombing of the medical institutions will be presented as another 'atrocity' of Russian troops, requiring a response from the world community and accelerating the supply of long-range missiles to Kiev [to be used] for strikes on Russian territory," the defense ministry added.

Russia has been carrying out what it calls a special military operation against its neighbor since last February. Moscow says the operation aims to stop Kiev's persecution of pro-Russian population in eastern Ukraine and to "de-Nazify" the ex-Soviet republic.

Moscow has frequently denied targeting civilians throughout its operation in Ukraine.

Kiev has, ever since the onset of the conflict, been pressing its Western allies for a constant and increasingly-improving flow of state-of-the-art weapons.

The allies, including the United States, have, in response, almost doubled the range of the missiles that they have been supplying to Ukraine. They also recently agreed to start providing Kiev with battle tanks.

Moscow says further armament of Kiev would only work to prolong the already drawn-out conflict and add to the suffering of Ukrainian people.

A senior Russian official warned in an interview published on Saturday that provision of more American weaponry to Ukraine, would just add fuel to the fire culminating in more retaliatory strikes from Russian forces.

"More aid to Ukraine would mean more retaliation," said Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, adding, "The result will be just the opposite."

Russia has not ruled out negotiation as means of ending the conflict, but has asserted that any talks would have to take into account its security concerns, including the likelihood of Ukraine's inclusion into the US-led military alliance of NATO.

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