MOSCOW, February 28. /TASS/. Army units of the Donetsk People’s Republic are completing encircling Mariupol, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Igor Konashenkov said on Monday.
"Army units of the Donetsk People’s Republic continue the offensive and are completing encircling Mariupol," he said.
Apart from that, he said that servicemen of the Lugansk People’s Republic "backed by supporting fire of the Russian armed forces are conducting a successful offensive and have advanced to a distance of 23 kilometers." "Control has been established over the settlements of Novaya Astrakhan and Borovenki," he said.
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 unfolding developments, 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.