Lugansk People's Republic: Two Ukrainian Su-24 Jets Flying Over Republic's Territory Shot Down
07:11 GMT 24.02.2022 (Updated: 09:05 GMT 24.02.2022)
© Sputnik / Mikhail VoskresenskiyDebaltsevo update
© Sputnik / Mikhail Voskresenskiy/
Earlier, the leadership of the republic announced that it had begun a military operation to free Kiev-controlled areas of the Lugansk region and that only military facilities would be targeted. Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow would support both the Lugansk and Donetsk People's Republics in order to defend the people of Donbass.
The people's militia of the Lugansk People's Republic has said that they shot down two Ukrainian Su-24 fighter jets in the area of the settlements of Smeloe and Stepovoe. Earlier, the Lugansk People's Republic (LPR) said that its forces had downed two Bayraktar drones in the Kiev-controlled portion of the Lugansk region.
The neighbouring Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) said its territory had been shelled by the Ukrainian Armed Forces. A representative officer from the Joint Centre for Control and Coordination of the ceasefire regime said that Kiev fired 10 shells prohibited by the Minsk agreements.
The development comes amid Russia's decision to recognise the independence of the DPR and LPR and the escalation of attacks on both republics, resulting in the evacuation of the civilian population to Russia. The decision on recognition was announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin after an emergency meeting of Russia's Security Council and later approved unanimously by the Russian Parliament.
Earlier on Thursday, President Putin ordered to conduct a special operation in the two republics, collectively known as Donbass, in order to protect its residents.
For its part, Ukraine has accused Russia of a full-scale invasion of the country. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said "peaceful cities are under strikes". Western countries have strongly condemned the Kremlin's decision to begin a military operation in Donbass and promised to introduce new sanctions against Moscow.
The Russian Defence Ministry has said that it is only targeting Ukrainian military infrastructure – military bases and air defence systems – and stressed that there is no threat to the civilian population.