Ukraine saw yet another tense day on the front line with ongoing shelling and fears of a Russian false flag operation to legitimize the Kremlin’s further invasion of Ukraine.
Artillery attacks by Russian-led militants continued all along the front line. As many as 54 shelling incidents have been reported by Ukraine’s military on Feb. 21 as of 5 p.m.
One civilian was killed after the Russia-backed militants shelled the government-controlled village of Novoluhanske, Donetsk Oblast governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said.
The Ukrainian military also reported two soldiers killed and three injured in an attack on Zaitseve, according to Ukraine’s National Police. Another soldier was injured in Vodyane.
Towns of Vrubivka, Schastya, and Stanytsya Luhasnka sustained artillery attacks as well.
In Vrubivka, militants damaged 31 apartments and 12 private sector houses, according to Yevhen Kaplin, the head of the Proliska charity mission linked with the United Nations.
The town was also cut off electricity, Kaplin reported on Feb. 21, adding that 121 local households lost heating.
Schastya was cut off water, electricity, and heating, according to the Luhansk Oblast administration. The local thermal power plant, the only power station in the region, suspended operations amid the shelling.
Stanytsya Luhanska, which had been the ground zero of heavy shelling on Feb. 17, also sustained a new attack, with 140 rounds fired upon the area. The Ukrainian military reported that one soldier was injured.
Over the last four days, Russian-led militants damaged a total of 100 buildings along the 420-kilometer front line, according to the Defense Ministry.
“This is a war crime,” Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said on Feb. 21.
“Criminals are trying to provoke us into making a mistake so that the Kremlin could get a space for maneuvers, under the pretext of ‘protecting’ the people to whom they have given Russian passports.”
In a separate address, the minister said that Ukraine had no plans to launch an offensive in Donbas, in spite of multiple accusations pushed by the Russian state media.
Among the dubious narratives pushed by the Russian propaganda, the country’s FSB security service said Ukraine’s military had delivered an “artillery strike” upon “a border security service outpost” inside Russian territory, some 150 meters away from the official Russian-Ukrainian border not controlled by the Ukrainian government.
Ukraine immediately denied the claim, while the country’s Culture Ministry and Information Politics called the Russian statements absurd.
At the same time, Russia’s Southern Military District said a “Ukrainian subversive group” clashed with Russia’s FSB border guard service coming from within the Russian-controlled region of Ukraine.
The FSB said the “assault” was repelled, with five “Ukrainian combatants” killed and two armored vehicles destroyed. No evidence was provided.