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DONETSK, January 24. /TASS/. Self-defence forces of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic /DPR/ are not going to attack Mariupol, DPR leader Alexander Zakharchenko said on Saturday.
“No one is going to attack the city. We are not beasts as they in Kiev,” he said.
He said he ordered to open suppressing fire at the positions of the Ukrainian army east of Mariupol only after Kiev had tried to put the blame for erroneous shelling of living quarters on DPR militias.
“We have conducted no active combat operations near Mariupol until today. But now, after Kiev decided to place responsibility for erroneous fire from its Grads from Berdyanskogo on Mariupol’s living quarters, I ordered to suppress the positions of Ukrainian troops east of Mariupol,” he said.
Zakhrachenko said that the Ukrainian side had pulled in additional troops to Mariupol.
“Our positions near Novoazovsk are shelled round-the-clock from Grad multiple rocket systems and large-calibre artillery. Today, 28th Ukrainian brigade was reinforced by armoured vehicles,” he noted. “It is being done to force us swing our forces to Mariupol from the Donetsk airport in a bid to drive us out of it.”
The Kiev military, according to Zakharchenko, were simply hiding behind Mariupol residents. “They are our people in Mariupol, they are Donbass too. They have nothing to be afraid of,” he said.