9 Mar 2022 09:13

Russian Defense Ministry says has documents regarding Ukraine's preparations for military operation in Donbas in March

MOSCOW. March 9 (Interfax) - The Russian Defense Ministry said it had obtained classified documents proving that Ukraine was preparing to launch a military operation in Donbas in March.

"In the course of the special military operation, Russian servicemen have come into possession of classified documents of the command of the Ukrainian National Guard. These documents prove that the Kyiv regime was secretly preparing to begin an offensive operation in Donbas in March 2022," Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said on Wednesday.

The secret order was issued by Ukrainian National Guard Commander Col. Gen. Mykola Balan on January 22, 2022. "This is the Order on Organizing Preparations of a Tactical Battalion Group of the 4th Operative Brigade for the Fulfillment of Military (Special) Missions during the Joint Forces Operation as part of the Ukrainian Armed Forces' Brigade," Konashenkov said.

"Conducted since February 24, the Russian special military operation preempted and disrupted a massive offensive of Ukrainian attack forces on the Luhansk and Donetsk people's republics uncontrolled by Kyiv in March of this year," he said.

The document acquired by the Russian military was addressed to the commanders of the northern (Kyiv), southern (Odesa), and western territorial divisions of the Ukrainian National Guard, Konashenkov said.

"The order relayed to the commands of Ukrainian National Guard departments spelled out a plan of preparations of an attack force for an offensive operation in the so-called zone of Joint Forces Operation in Donbas," he said.

"The order tasked the National Guard deputy commander with organizing combat shakedown of a tactical battalion group of the National Guard, a unit of the 80th Separate Air Assault Brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, over the period from February 7 to February 28, 2022," Konashenkov said.

"The combat shakedown of the nationalists was due to be completed by February 28 in order to ensure the accomplishment of combat missions within the framework of the Joint Forces Operation in Donbas. The document carries original signatures of officers from the Ukrainian National Guard command responsible for the accomplishment of these missions," he said.

The Ukrainian authorities claimed in February they were not planning a military solution of the Donbas problem and reaffirmed their commitment to political and diplomatic steps, Konashenkov said.

"Yet the originals of secret military documents of the Ukrainian National Guard definitively prove that such statements were false. There is still one question to be answered: how deep the involvement of the leadership of the United States and its NATO allies in the planning and preparations for the operation of a Ukrainian combined-arms contingent aimed at an onslaught on Donbas actually was. All of those who care for peace in Ukraine so much these days," Konashenkov said.