MOSCOW, February 24. /TASS/. Moscow kept trying to persuade Kiev to stop shelling Donbass but there was no adequate reaction, head of the Russian delegation to the Vienna talks on military security and arms control Konstantin Gavrilov told the Soloviev Live YouTube channel on Thursday.
"A forum on security cooperation took place here yesterday, where we once again tried to clarify the entire background and convince the Ukrainians and our Western partners that there still was a chance, make sure that shelling attacks came to an end, since the president had covered the whole situation in his address," he pointed out. "However, they only threw tantrums, saying: ‘It’s all lies and a provocation, we won’t listen to you’," Gavrilov added.
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 to occupy Ukrainian territories. Russia’s Defense Ministry said later that the Russian Armed Forces were not delivering strikes against Ukrainian cities. The ministry emphasized that the Ukrainian military infrastructure was being destroyed by precision weapons and there was no threat to civilians.