MOSCOW, February 24. /TASS/. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu issued special orders to treat with respect all Ukrainian troops, who laid down their weapons, Defense Ministry Spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov said on Thursday.
"The Defense Minister of Russia issued a special order to all of the commanding staff to treat with respect Ukrainian military servicemen," Konashenkov told journalists. "This order states in particular that since Ukrainian Armed Forces servicemen, unlike the nationalists, gave an oath to the people of Ukraine and followed orders, they must be treated with respect."
Konashenkov also noted that the Russian defense minister has ordered "to establish safe exit corridors from the area of the special operation for Ukrainian troops, who laid down their weapons and are heading now to their families."
Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a televised address on Thursday morning that in response to a request by the heads of the Donbass republics he had made a decision to carry out a special military operation in order to protect people "who have been suffering from abuse and genocide by the Kiev regime for eight years." The Russian leader stressed that Moscow had no plans of occupying Ukrainian territories.
When clarifying the developments unfolding, the Russian Defense Ministry reassured that Russian troops are not targeting Ukrainian cities, but are limited to surgically striking and incapacitating Ukrainian military infrastructure. There are no threats whatsoever to the civilian population.