Arequest for Russian military assistance from the head of a Moscow-backed rebel in Ukraine’s Donbas region has been batted away by the Kremlin.
Facing fierce shelling from Ukrainian forces, Denis Pushilin, head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR), requested additional assistance from the Russian government in a video published on his Telegram channel on Monday.
Pushilin accused Kyiv of using “prohibited methods of warfare,” and that the central districts of Donetsk were being shelled while other settlements in the republic were under fire.
“In this regard, an understanding was reached that all the necessary additional forces of the allied forces, primarily of the Russian Federation, will be involved,” he said.
Despite 30 “enemy firing points being suppressed,” he said the “enemy still has enough weapons capable of inflicting fire strikes on our settlements.” He went on to say citizens in the republic had been warned to “stay in safe places and not leave children unattended.”
In 2018, Pushilin became the head of the DNR, which has Moscow’s backing. Its independence, along with that of the Luhansk People’s Republic, was recognized by President Vladimir Putin days before he ordered the invasion of Ukraine.
Asked about Pushilin’s comments, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters such decisions were the “the prerogative of the Ministry of Defense, since this is a continuation of a special military operation,” referring to the approved term for the war in Ukraine.
Peskov said Wednesday that the cities of Luhansk and Donetsk were facing “intensifying” shelling, and that there had been additional operational requests.
When asked how Putin as Russia’s commander-in-chief would respond to Pushilin’s request, Peskov said such questions “are for our military,” according to the newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets.
Newsweek contacted the Russian Defense Ministry for comment.