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Luhansk republic leader claims Ukraine troops prevent evacuation efforts

February 09, 2015, 18:22 UTC+3 MOSCOW

LPR leader Igor Plotnitsky says Kiev troops use civilians as a human shield

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MOSCOW, February 9. /TASS/. Authorities of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic continue evacuating residents of region’s settlement Chernukhino and neighbouring areas, but Kiev troops prevent evacuation efforts, republic’s leader Igor Plotnitsky told a news conference on Monday.

"Talks continue with the Ukrainian side on a ‘green corridor’ for refugees, but they have not given it as of yet," LuganskInformTsentr news agency quotes him as saying. "It is clear why. Civilians are a human shield that Kiev law enforces use so that we don’t resort to artillery in the offensive," he said.

He said evacuation attempts had practically failed during the weekend. "Evacuation was twice disrupted on Saturday and Sunday. We expect to move out additionally 300 to 400 people, but have managed to evacuate only 25," he said.

"Some people manage to get out of the settlement on their own and reach our check points," he said, adding that all militias know the addresses of nearest refugee centers.

"Our task is to save as many civilian lives as possible. That is why we don’t hasten with an offensive. This is our land. We will claim it all the same, but with people whose lives have been saved," Plotnitsky said.

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