- Sputnik International, 1920, 25.02.2022
Russia's Special Operation in Ukraine
On February 24, 2022 Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine, aiming to liberate the Donbass region where the people's republics of Donetsk and Lugansk had been living under regular attacks from Kiev's forces.

Ex-Ukrainian President Yanukovich Urges Zelensky to Stop Bloodshed at Any Price, Reach Peace Deal

© Sputnik / Iliya Pitalev / Go to the mediabankFormer Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych interviewed by RIA Novosti
Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych interviewed by RIA Novosti - Sputnik International, 1920, 08.03.2022
Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the Russian armed forces have nearly completed the demolition of the military infrastructure in Ukraine, and the special military operation to "demilitarise and de-Nazify" the country was going according to the plan.
Former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich has urged Volodymyr Zelensky to stop the bloodshed "at any cost" and reach a peace deal.

"I understand very well that you have many 'advisers,' but personally you are obliged to stop the bloodshed at any cost and reach a peace agreement. This is expected of you in Ukraine, Donbass and Russia. The Ukrainian people and your partners in the West will be grateful to you," Yanukovich said in his address.

Yanukovich stressed that he was forced to leave the country in 2014 and this led to the fact that the new government unleashed a war in the Donbass. The actions of the "nationalist battalions" resulted in 8 years of suffering, 14,000 deaths and mothers in tears. He argued that instead of an alley of roses, an alley of murdered children had grown there.

“I want to appeal to Vladimir Zelensky in a presidential and even a little fatherly way. Vladimir Alexandrovich, you probably dream of becoming a real hero! But heroism is not ostentatious, it is not about fighting to the last Ukrainian. It is in self-sacrifice, in victory over one's own pride and ambitions for the sake of saving people's lives," Yanukovich said.

Amid the ongoing Russian operation in Ukraine, Russian and Ukrainian negotiators held a third round of peace talks on Monday in the region of Brest, Belarus near the Polish border. The talks ran for almost three hours. Monday's talks followed two earlier rounds of negotiations, also held on Belarusian territory.
Russia started a special military operation in Ukraine on 24 February in response to calls from the Donetsk and Lugansk people's republics (DPR and LPR) to defend themselves from intensifying attacks by Ukrainian troops. Moscow said that the aim of its special operation is to demilitarise and "de-Nazify" Ukraine.
President Putin said the goal of the operation was "protection of people who have been subjected to bullying and genocide by the Kiev regime for eight years."
The Russian Ministry of Defence has said that it's conducting high-precision strikes only at the Ukrainian military infrastructure, and nothing threatens the civilian population.
On Saturday, Vladimir Putin said that Russia had immediately responded to Kiev's request to open humanitarian corridors and declared a ceasefire to guarantee a safe evacuation, but according to the Russian Defence Ministry, the Ukrainian side once again used civilians as human shields.
Viktor Yanukovich served as Ukraine's president from 2010 until February 2014.
Between 31 November 2013, and 22 February 2014, more than 100 people died in clashes on Kiev's central Maidan Nezalezhnosti square. The unrest led by the US-backed opposition and neo-Nazi paramilitary groups resulted in ouster of Yanukovich who then fled the country to Russia.
The so-called "anti-terrorist operation" (ATO) in eastern Ukraine, which was roughly criticised by Yanokovich. was launched by new Kiev authorities in 2014 against militias of Donbass, after local residents of the region refused to recognise the new Ukrainian authorities, considering the power change a coup.

In 2015, a ceasefire deal was signed between conflicting sides in Minsk after talks brokered by the leaders of the so-called Normandy Format (Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine). Despite the ceasefire agreement, sporadic fighting has continued in Donbass.
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