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Donetsk assault possible ahead of May 25 election, militia leader says

May 22, 2014, 11:34 UTC+3 DONETSK
"We are receiving reports that Ukrainian troops are concentrating near Donetsk," commander of people’s militia Miroslav Rudenko said
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Militia checkpoint in Donetsk region

Militia checkpoint in Donetsk region

© ITAR-TASS/Mikhail Pochuev

DONETSK, May 22. /ITAR-TASS/. The leadership of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) does not rule out that Kiev authorities may attempt to storm Donetsk and stage provocations ahead of the May 25 presidential election. The commander of people’s militia, Miroslav Rudenko, said this on Wednesday commenting on a statement by parliament-appointed interim President Oleksandr Turchynov.

Turchynov said the Kiev authorities were ready for the final stage of a military operation in the east of the country. He said the army was ready for mop up operations in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions ahead of the presidential election on May 25 to ensure the voting in these regions seeking independence from central government in Ukraine.

“We are receiving reports that Ukrainian troops are concentrating near Donetsk, in particular that units of the Ukrainian army have been seen from the direction of Volovakha (60 kilometers southwest of Donetsk) as well as from the southeast direction — Mariupol,” he said.

“Of course we are expecting provocations ahead of the presidential election. The Kiev junta has staged massacre, genocide, and it is absurd to storm a city with the population of one million people. Are these deaths not enough for them?” Rudenko said.

He said the DNR people’s militia was defending their land. “Knowing the present authorities, we can expect everything. They can quite well storm the city. Then people, including elderly, will take to the streets as it has happened more than once, will block armored vehicles if they attempt to get into the city,” he said.

At present, the situation in Donetsk is relatively calm. The regional administration, housing the headquarters, is controlled by militia. The building is protected by blocks of concrete and sand bags covered with barbed wire. Stores and banks operate as usual. Public transport is functioning, but in the evening, streets get empty as people try not to go out after 9 p.m.

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