Tuesday, 17 May, 2022

Ukraine rebel leader announces 'general mobilisation'

The leader of the east Ukraine breakaway region of Donetsk on Saturday said he had introduced general mobilisation, with fears mounting of war in the ex-Soviet country.

The announcement came after observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe reported a significant rise in attacks on the frontline in eastern Ukraine, controlled by pro-Russian rebels.

"I urge my fellow citizens who are in the reserves to come to military conscription offices. Today I signed a decree on general mobilisation," Denis Pushilin, the leader of the so-called Donetsk People's Republic, said in a video statement.

Western leaders have for weeks raised the alarm over a build up of Moscow's army around Ukraine with Washington warning that an imminent attack could take place.

Kyiv has repeatedly denied any plans to regain control of separatist-held areas using force, including the Crimean peninsula, which was annexed by Moscow in 2014.

More than 14,000 people have been killed in fighting between Ukraine's army and Moscow-supported separatists since fighting broke out in 2014.