LUGANSK, February 17. /TASS/. The People's Militia of the Lugansk People's Republic (LPR) stated that Ukraine’s President Vladimir Zelensky personally instructed the Ukrainian security forces to escalate the conflict in Donbass.
"The ongoing aggravation of the situation is connected with [Vladimir] Zelensky's visit to the zone of the so-called Joint Forces Operation (Kiev's military operation in Donbass - TASS). After his departure, the shelling of the republics’ territory began along the entire front line. Therefore, the President of Ukraine personally gave instructions to escalate the conflict," head of the People's Militia Yan Leshchenko said in a statement published on Thursday on the department's telegram channel.
On Wednesday, Zelensky arrived on a working visit to Mariupol, where he addressed the military and security forces to mark Ukraine’s ‘Unity Day’ and stated that Ukraine is not afraid of its enemies and intends to defend itself. In addition, the Ukrainian leader, according to media reports, held a meeting with foreign ambassadors in the city. On Thursday, Zelensky set off on a boat across the Sea of Azov to the zone of military operations in Donbass.
On Thursday morning, the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics reported heavy shelling by Ukrainian security forces, including the use of heavy weapons. The republics noted that the situation on the line of contact has escalated dramatically.