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Donetsk intelligence notes regrouping of Ukrainian forces — official

MOSCOW, August 31. /TASS/. Intelligence services of the self-proclaimed unrecognized Donetsk People’s Republic [DPR] have noted the start of an active regrouping of units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces along the Line of Contact after the assassination of DRP Prime Minister Viktor Zakharchenko, a senior DPR defense official told Rossiya’24 news channel.

"After the terrorist act, we’ve registered the movements of troops along the Line of Contact," said Eduard Basurin, a representative of the DPR Operations Command. "The Ukrainian forces were put on alert for combat training."

The Line of Contact separates the pro-Kiev armed units and the self-defense forces of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk republics.

"We think this is the eventual goal in terms of destabilizing the situation in the areas near the Line of Contact - something the Ukrainian and US secret services have hoped to gain," he said. "We don’t rule out an offensive at one of the sections of the line."

"They also hope to push the situation in the entire republic off the balance," Basurin said.

The republic’s operational command said military forces of the self-proclaimed republic have been put on full alert.

"This act of terror [Zakharchenko’s assassination - TASS] is aimed at destabilizing the situation in the republic and was carried out by Ukraine’s special services under the control of US special services," the operational command said in a statement, released by the Donetsk News Agency.

"All military units have been put on the highest possible level of alert," the statement reads. "The enemy will have no opportunity to make use of the situation and violate our borders."

The operational command told the citizens to stay calm. "The situation in the republic and along the line of contact remains under full control of our forces," the statement reads.

 The republic's interim head Dmitry Trapeznikov did not rule out the possibility of provocations by the Ukrainian side, adding that "movements of military equipment have been spotted, and a number of violations detected." "However, the situation is under control," he added.

"Security measures have been stepped up, citizens have nothing to worry about," Trapeznikov continued. "Patrols were deployed in all streets of cities. So, there is maximum degree of security."

Alexander Zakharchenko died on Friday night when an explosion ripped through a downtown restaurant in Donetsk. The DPR tax and duty minister, Alexander Timofeyev, who was also present in the restaurant, received severe wounds and was taken to hospital.