DONETSK, February 18. /TASS/. A powerful explosion rocked downtown Donetsk on Friday, the Donetsk News Agency reported.
"A car exploded at the parking lot near the government building at about 19:00," the office of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic at the Joint Center for the Control and Coordination of the Ceasefire Regime said on Telegram. (That’s the same time as in Moscow.)
The explosion was "heard across the entire city," the office said. Responders from the Emergency Situations Ministry are headed to the scene.
The statement also calls for citizens to "remain calm, be vigilant and avoid moving about the city."
On Friday, the heads of the LPR and DPR Leonid Pasechnik and Denis Pushilin announced evacuations for the residents of the republics due to increasing danger of hostilities and said Russia agreed to provide shelter to the evacuated people.
Pushilin said he had information that Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky will soon order troops to embark on an offensive and carry out a plan of invading the DPR and LPR.
The situation along the contact line in eastern Ukraine took a turn for the worse on Thursday morning. The DPR and LPR reported some of the most intensive shelling by Ukraine’s armed forces in recent months. There have been no reports of deaths but one civilian woman was injured and the shelling damaged some civilian facilities.