MOSCOW, February 26. /TASS/. On Friday afternoon, Russian President Vladimir Putin gave orders to stop troop advancement in Ukraine due to expected talks with Kiev yet because the opposite side refused to negotiate, this afternoon, troop advancement was resumed, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Saturday.
"Yesterday afternoon, over the expected talks with the Ukrainian leadership, the supreme commander-in-chief and Russia’s president gave an order to suspend the advancement of the main forces of Russian troops," the Kremlin official said.
He explained that since "essentially, the Ukrainian side refused the talks, this afternoon, the advancement of the main Russian forces resumed in accordance with the plan of operation."
Putin’s press secretary specified that during the suspension of the advancement of the main forces, combat continued in some locations. "There were clashes with mobile groups of nationalists and Bandera followers who used light vehicles and trucks where they mounted strike weapons, using the principle of jihad mobiles, only there they are now called bander mobiles," the spokesman explained.
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.
Russia’s Defense Ministry reported later on Thursday that Russian troops were not delivering strikes against Ukrainian cities. It emphasized that Ukrainian military infrastructure was being destroyed by precision weapons.