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Ukrainian Forces Fired on Border With Russia Hours Before Russian Military Op Began, Eyewitness Says

© Sputnik / Стрингер / Go to the mediabankUkrainian armoured transporter during inspection. File photo.
Ukrainian armoured transporter during inspection. File photo. - Sputnik International, 1920, 30.03.2022
Russia started a military operation in Ukraine on 24 February after weeks of escalating shelling and sabotage attacks by Kiev’s forces against the Donbass republics, whose status as sovereign states Moscow recognized on 21 February. The operation is the culmination of a security crisis which started in 2014 after a Western-backed coup in Kiev.
Ukrainian forces in Kharkov region opened fire toward the Russian border several hours before the Russian military operation in Ukraine began, an eyewitness has said.

“I took up duty at the school – the Lyptsi school, on night of the 23-24rd [of February],” Anatoly Andreev, the watchman at the settlement's school, said in testimony obtained by Sputnik. Lyptsi is situated about 30 km from the city of Kharkov, Ukraine, and about 15 km from the border with Russia.

“Sometime at about half past midnight I heard a noise, an unusual noise. I looked through the window and counted about 15 BTRs [armoured personnel vehicles], with guns and stuff. The thing is, the settlement has no lights at night, but I’m certain that even more of them passed. And after some time I heard shelling,” Andreev said.
According to the watchman, the shooting was directed “from the side of the Ukrainian army toward the border. Then after some time passed, fire was returned.”
“I got the impression that the villages situated from the north to the south toward the city of Kharkov were to be destroyed. This was shown by the further developments, because the village of Tsirkuny was razed to the ground, the village of Tishki was razed to the ground, and up to Lyptsi as well," Andreev said.
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The eyewitness said initially, when the evacuation of civilians in Lyptsi to Russia began, things seemed quiet. “But afterward, they say there was shooting at evacuees as well. There were yellow buses [with signs that] read 'children'.”
Russia and its Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Militia allies began a military operation in Ukraine on the morning of 24 February. The operation followed weeks of escalating tensions as Ukrainian forces carried out shelling, sabotage and sniper attacks against Donbass forces. In early March, the Russian military released documents indicating that Kiev had planned to conduct a full-scale assault on the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. The Russian-led military operation in Ukraine followed nearly eight years of grinding civil conflict in the Donbass.
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