Lugansk People's Armed Forces down two Ukraine aircraft
Advisor to Lugansk People's Republic's Interior Minister, Vitaly Kiselev, announces control over Schastia and Stanystia Luhanska.
Advisor to the Lugansk People's Republic's Interior Minister, Vitaly Kiselev, said on Thursday that the cities of Schastia and Stanystia Luhanska are again under the control of the Lugansk Republic.
Lugansk's People's Armed Forces also announced the downing of two Ukrainian Su-24 aircraft, adding that the Ukrainian army is refusing to obey orders, and is deserting its positions.
#BreakingNews | #Lugansk forces: The #Ukrainian army on the border refuses to obey orders and deserts its positions.— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) February 24, 2022
Lugansk announced earlier today that its armed forces have launched a military campaign to liberate the Republic's lands.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said earlier that members of the Ukrainian military who refuse to perform the unlawful orders of their government and will disarm will be allowed to freely leave the zone of military activities.
Al Mayadeen's correspondent to Mariupol said that there is a heavy outpouring of people from the city, and that sirens are blaring.
Russia's Defense Ministry said on Thursday that Moscow's Armed Forces are not attacking Ukrainian cities, but are instead targeting Ukraine's military infrastructure using precision weapons.
"Precision weapons are degrading military infrastructure, air defense facilities, military aerodromes and aviation of the Ukrainian armed forces," the ministry said, further adding that there is no threat to civilians.
Putin also had a televised address on Thursday morning, in which he said that he made a decision to carry out a special military operation in response to a request by the heads of the Donbass republics.
"Leading NATO countries pursue their own goal by fully supporting Ukraine's extreme Nazis and neo-Nazis, who, in turn, will never forgive the people of Crimea and Sevastopol for their free choice to reunify with Russia", said the Russian president.