17 Feb 2022 10:41

LPR, DPR report sharp escalation of tensions along contact line

LUHANSK/DONETSK/KYIV. Feb 17 (Interfax) - Tensions have drastically escalated on the Donbas contact line, militia spokesman of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) Yan Leshchenko said.

"The situation has tangibly worsened on the contact line over the past day. The enemy is trying to escalate the conflict on direct orders from the Kyiv military and political leadership," Leshchenko told reporters on Thursday.

The LPR mission to the Joint Center for Control and Coordination reported five attacks of the Ukrainian army at the LPR territory on February 17, he said.

The LPR asked international observers to record the aggressive actions of Ukraine and to take immediate action in order to prevent a bloodshed in Donbas, Leshchenko said.

The self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) has also reported tensions on the contact line.

"There has been a sharp escalation on the contact line," the DPR militia said in a statement on Thursday. According to the militia, the Ukrainian army committed four ceasefire violations on Thursday and "the DPR forces had to return fire to protect the civilian population."

For its part, Kyiv reported eight ceasefire breaches and no casualties on February 16.

The staff of the Joint Forces Operation said that 82mm mortars were fired at Ukrainian positions.

Kyiv also claimed the engagement of "unmanned aerial vehicles, which dropped VOG-17 and VOG-25 munitions," on Ukrainian positions. Additionally, the positions came under attack of "mounted anti-tank grenade launchers, small arms, heavy machineguns, and automatic grenade launchers," the staff said.