Two explosions are reported to have taken place in eastern Ukraine as well as a car bomb belonging to a separatist official amid fears Putin is looking for an excuse to attack
Image: Nikolai Trishin/TASS)
Two huge explosions have been reported in the east of Ukraine hours after a car bomb blew up a Ukraine separatist official’s jeep.
The blasts were said to have happened at the Russian separatist city of Luhansk, just 40 minutes apart late on Friday night.
The explosions in Luhansk, where a gas pipeline is claimed to have caught fire after a “powerful explosion”, were reported by the Russian Interfax news agency.
It comes amid fears of an “imminent” invasion with tensions simmering along the Ukrainian border where 190,000 Russia troops are said to be in attack positions.
US President Joe Biden has said he believes Vladimir Putin has made up his mind to attack and that the invasion will be imminent.
Daily Mirror/Andy Stenning)
He spoke on Friday after separatists backed by Moscow told civilians to leave breakaway regions on buses, a move the West fears is part of a pretext for an attack.
And amid claims that Putin is preparing “false flags”, where he will say pro-Russian groups in the Ukraine have been attacked as an excuse to invade, there have been two reported explosions in a separatist area.
Earlier, without providing evidence, Denis Pushilin, the separatist leader in Donetsk, accused Ukraine of preparing to attack the two regions soon – an accusation Kyiv said was false.
Warning sirens blared in Donetsk and Luhansk during the day on Friday after rebel leaders there announced the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people to Russia.
Hours after the evacuation announcement of a car bomb in Donetsk, which is reported to have belonged to separatist official Major General Denis Sinenkov, exploded outside a rebel government building.
A security expert in Kyiv told The Sun : “It looks like a false flag. They will blame Ukraine but how would they have been able to booby trap it?”
Late on Friday, Ukraine’s military intelligence said Russian special forces had planted explosives at social infrastructure facilities in Donetsk, and it urged residents to stay at home.
Biden said of an imminent Russian attack: “We have reason to believe the Russian forces are planning to and intend to attack Ukraine in the coming week, in the coming days.
“As of this moment I am convinced that he has made the decision.”
Many families in the mostly Russian-speaking Donetsk area have already been granted citizenship by Moscow and within hours, some were boarding buses at an evacuation point, where authorities said 700,000 people would leave.
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Irina Lysanova, 22, said she was packing to travel with her pensioner mother: “Mama is a panicker,” she said. Her father, Konstantin, 62, was not going. “This is my motherland,” he said.
The evacuation started after the simmering eastern Ukraine conflict zone saw what sources described as the most intense artillery bombardment for years on Friday.
Ukraine was the most painful loss for Russia of the 14 former republics under its control prior to the 1991 break-up of the Soviet Union.
The Russian-backed rebels seized a swathe of eastern Ukraine in 2014, the same year that Moscow annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region. Kyiv says that more than 14,000 people have since died in the conflict in the east.