Russian defence minister orders “units in all areas” to step up Ukraine operations

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Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has ordered Russian military units operating in all areas of Ukraine to step up their operations in order to prevent strikes on eastern Ukraine and other territories controlled by Russia, the ministry said in a statement on its website on Saturday.

It said Shoigu “gave the necessary instructions to further increase the actions of groups in all operational areas in order to exclude the possibility of the Kyiv regime launching massive rocket and artillery strikes on civilian infrastructure and residents of settlements in Donbas and other regions”.

Meanwhile, the world’s largest security body has expressed “grave concern” about the alleged mistreatment of tens of thousands of Ukrainians in so-called filtration centres set up by Russia in Ukraine.

Tens of thousands of civilians are taken to these centres in the self-proclaimed breakaway Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) in eastern Ukraine, before being deported to Russia, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said.

Russia has forcibly removed nearly 2 million people from Ukraine, including more than 200,000 children since its invasion in February, Zelenskiy said. “It is still being established how many children Russian forces abducted and took out of Ukraine… The preliminary figure is dreadful – about two hundred thousand children,” he told the Ukraine Accountability Conference in The Hague.

A picture taken during a visit to Melitopol organized by the Russian military shows a woman walking past a couple of armed Russian servicemen standing guard outside a center for the preparation of documents for the registration of Russian citizenship and passport application, in Melitopol, Zaporizhia region, southeastern Ukraine. EPA-EFE/SERGEI ILNITSKY

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