MOSCOW, February 28. /TASS/. The Ukrainian authorities are using Kiev residents as human shields and deploying artillery guns in residential areas, Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said on Monday.
The Ukrainian authorities have declared a curfew and are persuading Kiev residents to stay in their homes, the spokesman said.
"This proves once again that the Kiev regime is using urban civilians as ‘human shields’ for nationalists who have deployed artillery units and combat hardware in the capital’s residential areas," the general said.
Looters and robbers are rampaging through Kiev while the local authorities claim that ‘Russian saboteurs’ are active in the city, Konashenkov said.
"Armed gangs of looters, robbers and nationalists who have obtained weapons through the authorities’ criminal decision to hand them out to the population in an uncontrolled manner are on the rampage in Kiev," the spokesman said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a televised address on the morning of February 24 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.