Representatives of the occupation authorities in the territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions not controlled by the Ukrainian government have announced the general mobilisation of all men.
According to Russian propaganda media, Denis Pushilin, the leader of the Russian-backed militants, signed a “decree” ordering all men in the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) to come to the “military commissariats” because of an alleged threat of aggression by the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
A similar “decree” was signed by Leonid Pasechnik, the leader of the so-called Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR). The document states that men aged 18 to 55 are prohibited from leaving the occupied territories. The decree also allows seizing vehicles and other property necessary for militants from enterprises, organisations, and civilians.
The day before, both leaders of Russian-backed militants announced the immediate evacuation of civilians, especially women, children, and the elderly, to the Russian Federation. Such actions were explained by the “offensive operation” of the Armed Forces in the occupied part of Donbas; although the Ukrainian authorities have repeatedly stressed at various levels that they do not consider the option of de-occupation by force, and the Ukrainian military remains in their positions.
It is noteworthy that the journalists found an interesting detail: according to the metadata of video files, the leaders’ statements were recorded on Wednesday, 16 February.
According to separatist media, they plan to evacuate up to 700,000 people to Russia from the “DPR” alone, but witnesses are posting videos showing half-empty buses heading towards Russia.
According to the Russian news agency Interfax, more than 10,000 people from the non-controlled territories of Donbas crossed the Russian border from yesterday evening until the morning of 19 February.
At the same time, according to the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, hundreds of evacuees spent the whole night in cold buses in Russia’s Rostov region. They have not been received anywhere yet. People are left without food.
Vasily Golubev, the Rostov region governor, announced the introduction of a state of emergency in the region due to the flow of evacuees from the so-called “DPR” and “LPR.” The regional government switched to round-the-clock operation. The Border Service of the Federal Security Service reported that all checkpoints in the Rostov region were open only for entry into Russia.