Russia Begins Preparing for Refugees From Donbass

With a Kiev regime offensive against the breakaway provinces apparently beginning, Russia has begun to prepare for an influx of refugees from Donbass across the border into Russia.

Ukrainian government tank fire against Donbass. (Ukraine MOD file photo)

By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News

The leaders of the breakaway Lugansk and Donetsk provinces in eastern Ukraine have called on their citizens to flee to Russia ahead of what they say is an impending, breakthrough offensive by the Kiev regime. 

“I instruct the leaders of the territories, law enforcement agencies and emergency services to ensure an organized evacuation of social objects and to help the population get to border checkpoints,” said Leonid Pasechnik, head of the declared Lugansk People’s Republic, on Friday. 

Donetsk People’s Republic head Denis Pushilin said Ukrainian forces, armed by NATO, “are now prepositioned for combat and ready to take Donbass by force.” He said: “That is why starting today, February 18, a mass evacuation of people to the Russian Federation has been organized,” he in a statement. Women, children and the elderly would be given priority in the evacuation, he said.

Russia has begun to prepare for an influx of refugees. The RIA Kremlin pool reporter tweeted:

“Putin reacted to the situation in Donbass. Acting head of the Ministry of Emergency Situations urgently flies to the Rostov region. On behalf of the President, he will create conditions for the accommodation of refugees.

Everyone arriving in the Rostov region from the Donbass will be given 10,000 rubles each.”

Pasechnik said civilians in Lugansk should flee to Russia “as soon as possible,” where he said Russian authorities are prepared to “ensure organized reception and to provide accommodation on its territory.” Pushilin also said Russian authorities in neighboring Rostov were preparing for an influx of refugees. 

Paechnik declared that Kiev’s military was on the brink of attacking the province. He said:

“Contrary to common sense and international agreements, the adversary continues to concentrate manpower and heavy equipment along the entire line of contact. By this moment, an impressive strike force has been formed by the adversary. According to the intelligence data, the Ukrainian aggressor plans to carry out not only provocations on the line of contact, but a breakthrough deep into our republic’s territory.”

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba denied an attack on Donbass is planned. “We categorically refute Russian disinformation reports on Ukraine’s alleged offensive operations,” Kuleba tweeted on Friday. 

The West appears prepared to interpret an evacuation of civilians as part of a ruse to give Russia a pretext to invade Donbass to protect citizens who are majority ethnic Russian, many with Russian passports. One Western Russia expert tweeted:

Monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) have reported a surge of explosions in the area, including more than 500 on Thursday.

A U.S. State Department official anonymously told The New York Times on Friday that announcements of evacuations were “further attempts to obscure through lies and disinformation that Russia is the aggressor in this conflict.” 

The presence of Ukrainian forces at the line of confrontation is ignored by U.S. officials and its media, which publishes maps that only show the location of Russian forces on Russian territory.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin told the U.N. Security Council on Thursday 122,000 Ukrainian military forces were lined up at the front with Donbass with the possible intention of launching an offensive against the two breakaway provinces there.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the same meeting that Russia was planning provocations to justify an invasion, but a U.S.-backed Ukrainian offensive into the provinces could be a trap to draw Russian regular units over the border, given the U.S. the invasion it is screaming about. 

One way out for Russia would be to evacuate people and leave behind bolstered militias to try to defend the territory without an intervention by Russia to save civilians. 

Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former U.N. correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and numerous other newspapers. He was an investigative reporter for the Sunday Times of London and began his professional work as a 19-year old stringer for The New York Times.  He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @unjoe

12 comments for “Russia Begins Preparing for Refugees From Donbass

  1. Hide Behind
    February 20, 2022 at 02:13

    I do not believe the breakaway Republics could put up much of a fight against Ukraine military as every thing it has is on its border 450iles long and defensively 3 miles deep.
    Breakaways army are barely trained malitia, poorly under equipped and led by but a few real Military commanders who were themselves ex Ukraine and Russian military, none with real combat experiences.
    ODD but recruits are pouring in and they go to the NEO-Nazi Brigades training facilities which is seperate from formal Ukrainr bases
    .The neo-nazi groups up to platoon size are spread throughout regular military but prominate numbers of.Neo Nazi fully equipped and trained with daily more and more of worlds combat experience mercenaries joining them,, all armed two or three Brigades are the main force facing breakaway Republic.
    Any breakthrough of Republics front lines means there are no forces in the interior.
    Republics got WWI style trench lines and no real strong points along it.

  2. February 20, 2022 at 00:46

    Humanity has considerable spiritual evolving yet to undergo to overcome the continuing proclivity of those categorized as war criminals to give further examples of extreme disrespect for the sacred nature of all people, all life, and all things.


  3. Robert Emmett
    February 19, 2022 at 07:53

    Are we likely to see a headline that says: Ukraine Invades Itself? Even under Minsk (were it to be enforced), aren’t the republics in the Donbass still officially a part of Ukraine?

    So what’s the end game here? Control of the Donbass, where Ukie fascists could have a free-hand in their bloodthirsty cleansing? Would that become a “sacrifice zone”? Would U.S./NATO supplied & trained Ukrainian forces then turn toward Crimea?

    When & where & how would Russia respond?

    Its already reportedly shaking-out its nuclear hardware for testing this weekend (according to article at Common Dreams). Can it still be called “sabre rattling” when what you’re shaking has the power to rattle not only the enemy in front of you but to melt every sabre in the known world?

    • Rob
      February 19, 2022 at 18:28

      Russia has conventional weapons that far surpass anything in the U.S./NATO arsenals. In addition, Russia reputedly can disable US military satellites which are essential to the carrying out of war plans. There’s good reason why the US/NATO have already declared that they will not engage directly in Ukraine’s defense. They do not want another embarrassing defeat so soon after the Afghanistan withdrawal.

      As for the possibility of a war going nuclear, this can never be ruled out completely, but all sides know that all sides will lose.

      • Robert Emmett
        February 20, 2022 at 07:45

        I too have listened to what Scott Ritter has to say about this. And it sounds convincing. But I’ve also heard him say that once the shooting starts then war plans tend to go to shit.

        So, say U.S./ Brit/NATO backed Ukraine forces encroach further into the Donbass and Russia responds with stand-off weapons to neutralize the assault and protect ethnic Russians. What if U.S./ Brit/NATO “advisors” are killed? Even if that doesn’t happen, the U.S. and its media partners will easily convince most of the public of a Russian “invasion”. The pressure on European countries to enforce stricter sanctions, particularly against the Nordstream pipeline, will be intense. If Europeans buckle then voila! Mission accomplished. Russia isolated, more weaponry moved into former Soviet states, more pressure on Russia to respond somehow.

        A tighter coalition of NATO/European countries then would be aligned to spring a similar sort of trap on China in the ultimate battle for control of energy and key resources.

        I didn’t dream this stuff up but rely on those whose job it is to know way more about it than I do, including Michael Hudson & Alastair Crooke, among others. That said, I still recognize the possibility that everyone could be wrong about how it would really go. And that’s the fucking problem.

    • Hide Behind
      February 20, 2022 at 02:26

      One must remember back to times of USSR breakup and fact of Ukraine being area of where most of Russia heavy equipment was manufactured, including assembly of nuclear warheads.
      Those nuke weapons were supposedly broken down and dumped.
      They were put into caves and old mine shafts thenshafffts blown.
      Some were encased in 55 steel and concrete and dumped into deep lakes.
      US aided withequipment and financing.

  4. Frank Lambert
    February 19, 2022 at 07:05

    Does anyone think that the U.S. government would send millions of dollars of military equipment over to the pro-nazi/anti-Russian puppet government in the Ukraine for nothing? It’s the same SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) which the “world’s only super bully” used in the invasion and occupation of Iraq. The American people drank the Kool-Aid then, and swallowing it now.

    And the worthless United Nations did nothing or even condemn the United States and NATO forces from invading Iraq, as a “crime of aggression,” a term which was used during the Nuremberg Trials for prosecuting a few Nazis with prison sentences and for some, the death penalty.

    Paul Craig Roberts, a man I greatly admire for speaking “truth to power” has been wondering why, like myself and many others why the Russkies kept playing nice all along with the West, in spite of the steady movement of NATO eastward, in violation of deal made between James Baker and Mr. Gorbachev, who, in my opinion, sold out the Soviet citizens as he ate the bait.

    On the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) which is a joint organization started between Russia and China and several former Soviet States after the dismantling of the Soviet Union as a counter to NATO (the henchman for the infamous international bankers, why have the Chines been so silent in telling the US and the NATO flunkies that they will intervene militarily if the Russian Federation is attacked? I understand they;re more interested in increasing the Belt and Road Initiative, which is good, but if their “partner” goes down, maybe they’ll be next!

  5. Altruist
    February 18, 2022 at 17:19

    This article, together with Joe Lauria’s article of yesterday, is extremely helpful in understanding what is really happening in Ukraine — cutting through the dense fog of propaganda and lies.

    What would be very interesting to know if there is independent, third-party verification of the number of Ukrainian troops at the front in Donbass – is it actually 122,000 as the Russian side claims? The number of troops on the Ukrainian side – as well as materiel and foreign support – is always missing in reports in the Western press.

    The other question is whether President Zelenskiy, who has been downplaying the risk of war and irritating his American patrons, is really in charge and calling the shots.

  6. vinnieoh
    February 18, 2022 at 16:40

    Now we can really understand what that prick in the WH meant when he said that “(Putin) will have to do something!”

    It will be very difficult indeed to NOT let the Ukraine forces advance and then destroy them. I won’t pretend to know the mind of Vladimir Putin or any of the Russian high command, but I suspect that, except for the Nazis and neo-Nazis, to them (Russian leadership) such a massacre would be a tragedy they are not willing to inflict. And this too may be a point of pressure being used by the US/Uk in their calculations.

    None of this will ever end until the US suffers a catastrophic economic and military defeat. What a god-damned absolute fucking waste. None of this had to be.

  7. Guy
    February 18, 2022 at 15:20

    After constantly screaming 24/7 that the Russians were coming ,now we see it was just a ruse so set the stage for the Ukro-Nazis to invade Eastern Ukraine and take it by force .This has CIA written all over it .

    • jo6pac
      February 18, 2022 at 16:40

      Yes it does and unless the ukraine/cia send in the nazi army in the ukraine they just might loss against the Good Guys & Gals in the East.

    • February 18, 2022 at 19:19

      We just need Kermit Roosevelt Jr and Gen. H. Norman Swarzkopf Sr (Iran Aug 1953) to show up. And Gen Reinhard Gehlen for good measure (Gehlen, head of Nazi intelligence for the Eastern Front and Russia, who brought himself and agents to western intelligence, enmasse, complete with the pre-infiltrated Soviet double agents).
      Good ‘ol proxy pattern.

Comments are closed.