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Serious Escalation in Donbas: School and Kindergarten Come Under Fire

Donbass shelling

On 17 February, the Russian-occupation troops violated the ceasefire 60 times, including 43 attacks with the use of weapons banned under the Minsk agreements, almost along the entire contact line in Donbas, the press centre of the Joint Forces Operation informs.

As noted, one serviceman of the Armed Forces of Ukraine was wounded, another one suffered a combat injury. In addition, two civilians were injured.

The shells damaged a kindergarten, power lines, a gas pipeline and destroyed two private houses in the Stanytsia Luhanska urban-type settlement. Three employees of the kindergarten suffered concussions.

Russian-backed militants also fired artillery on the village of Vrubivka and damaged the building of a local secondary school, while children studied inside, a gas pipeline, and a private house.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky called the shelling a “big provocation.”

“The shelling of a kindergarten in Stanytsia Luhanska by pro-Russian forces is a big provocation. It’s important that diplomats and the OSCE remain in Ukraine; their monitoring activities are an additional deterrent. We need an effective mechanism for recording all ceasefire violations,” the Head of State posted on Twitter.

Zelensky also had an urgent telephone conversation with President of the European Council Charles Michel, during which he stressed that Ukraine currently saw no evidence of the withdrawal of Russian troops from our borders.

As of 11:00 a.m. on Friday, 18 February, 33 ceasefire violations by Russian-occupation forces had been recorded. The occupiers used the weapons prohibited under the Minsk agreements 22 times.

Due to the aggravation of the situation in Donbas, the Ukrainian delegation asked the Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine and in the Trilateral Contact Group to immediately convene extraordinary consultations of the security working group and extraordinary meeting of the TCG.

It is noteworthy that after the shelling of kindergarten and school, Russian propaganda resources began to actively spread misinformation that the Armed Forces of Ukraine had launched the attacks.

The Joint Forces Operation Headquarters underscore that the Ukrainian military are strictly adhering to the Minsk agreements and norms of international humanitarian law, and that the Russian army is trying to hide its insidious actions by accusing the Armed Forces of shelling civilians.

At the same time, Ukraine’s ruling party, the Servant of the People, called on the parliaments of the civilised world to react decisively and harshly to the escalation of tensions. In particular, MPs ask to immediately strengthen sanctions against Putin and his entourage over aggression against Ukraine.

Bohdan Marusyak

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