On Thursday, the Ukrainian army launched an attack against the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, with Donbass authorities warning that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky could order a full-scale offensive against the republics at any time.
Tensions are running high in the self-proclaimed Donbass republics, where thousands of people have had to leave their homes and are being evacuated to Russia due to constant shelling by Ukrainian forces. Kiev has repeatedly used 120mm mortars banned by the Minsk accord, against the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR). Over the past hours, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s Special Monitoring Mission (OSCE SMM) said it had registered 222 ceasefire violations in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, and 648 breaches of the truce in the Lugansk region.
As of Saturday morning, around 25,000 people have crossed the border with Russia from the LPR side.
An extraordinary meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group has been called for Saturday morning, as tensions show no sign of abating. The Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics announced the evacuation of their citizens to Russia’s Rostov Region over a dramatic escalation of tensions along the line of contact and a possible full-fledged offensive by the Ukrainian army. On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Kiev needs to engage in dialogue with the self-proclaimed Donbass republics and come up with a common solution to end the ongoing conflict. The situation on the line of contact between Ukraine and the DPR and LPR has worsened in the past days, after Kiev intensified shelling of the territories of the self-proclaimed republics.