DONETSK, February 26. /TASS/. The units of the People’s Militia of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) have taken under their control 12 populated localities in the south of Donbass since the beginning of the liberating operation, Deputy Head of the DPR's People's Militia Eduard Basurin stated on Saturday.
. "The units of the People’s Militia have taken under control the communities of Nikolaevka, Novognatovka, Bogdanovka, Trudovskoye, Vasilyevka, Rybinskoye, Starognatovka, Chicherino, Prokhorovka, Andreevka, Pavlopol, Pishchevik as well as adjacent districts and roads," the Donetsk news agency quoted him as saying.
According to him, the units continue to advance on the Mariupol direction past the defenses of the Ukrainian army without encountering active resistance.
The military official also noted that the DPR forces approached the communities of Dmitrovka, Svobodnoye, Donskoye and Anadol in the vicinity of Volnovakha. He again urged Ukrainian servicemen to voluntarily refuse to participate in combat.
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.