At the moment the signs are pointing to war. The head of the pro-Russian rebels in the self-proclaimed “People’s Republic” of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine has now called for “general mobilization”. “Today I signed a decree on general mobilization,” said Denis Puschilin in a video message published on Saturday. He called on citizens who are reservists to “come to the military enrollment offices.”
The pro-Russian rebels had previously urged civilians in Donetsk to “get to safety”. According to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on Saturday, the massive tensions between Russia and Ukraine have seen a “dramatic increase” in attacks along the front line in eastern Ukraine.
The bloody conflict in the area in eastern Ukraine near Russia has been going on since spring 2014. According to UN estimates, more than 14,000 people have died so far, most of them in separatist-controlled territory. A peace plan from 2015 mediated by Franco-German mediation is not implemented.
Towns and villages in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions are currently being evacuated. According to the Donetsk separatists on Saturday morning, more than 6,000 people, including 2,400 children, have already been brought to safety. Thousands of people have already arrived in the southern Russian region of Rostov, where shelters have been prepared. The separatist leadership had called for people to flee, citing an impending attack by Ukrainian government troops as the reason for their appeal.
According to the authorities, a total of 700,000 people were to be brought to safety from the Donetsk region. Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed the government in Moscow to help the migrants. Among other things, 10,000 rubles (around 116 euros) should be paid out per person.
The Ukrainian military has vehemently denied the allegations to this day. An offensive in the region is not planned. Moscow is only looking for an excuse to go to war, say Great Britain and the USA in response to the separatists’ claims.