MOSCOW (AA) – Russian president Vladimir Putin on Thursday accused Ukraine of not allowing foreign nationals to leave the country.
The “course of the confrontation” shows that Russia fights against “neo-Nazis,” Vladimir Putin said at a meeting of the Russian Security Council in Moscow.
Putin accused the Ukrainian authorities of taking foreigners “hostage,” opening fire on Chinese students in the city of Kharkiv and locking up more than 1,000 Indian citizens at a railway station.
“Nationalist and neo-Nazi formations, among them foreign mercenaries, including from the Middle East, are hiding behind civilians as a human shield,” he claimed.
The Ukrainian nationalists locked up civilians in the upper floors of residential buildings and installed weapons and military equipment in the ground floors, knowing that the Russian army does not strike civilian infrastructure, he claimed.
“Instead of fulfilling the promise to remove these equipment from residential buildings, kindergartens, hospitals, on the contrary, they placed tanks, artillery, mortars there, acting as fascists,” he said.
Russia’s war on Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24, has met international outrage with the EU, US and UK, among others, implementing tough financial sanctions on Moscow.
According to UN figures, 227 civilians have been killed and 525 injured in Ukraine since the start of the war. Ukrainian authorities, however, put the death toll at over 2,000.
More than 1 million people have fled Ukraine to neighboring countries, the UN Refugee Agency said.