Units and servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are leaving their positions en masse and abandon their weapons, the Russian Defense Ministry announced with reference to intelligence data, TASS reports.
The military positions of Ukraine that have laid down their arms are not subjected to strikes, representatives for the ministry said.
Earlier, the ministry reported that anti-aircraft defenses of the Armed Forces of Ukraine were suppressed. The military infrastructure of Ukrainian air bases was also disabled.
In his address to the nation, President Putin stressed that responsibility for the bloodshed would lie on the shoulders of the Ukrainian authorities.
"Once again, I strongly emphasize that all responsibility for possible bloodshed will be entirely on the conscience of the Ukrainian ruling regime," Putin said.
Putin also pointed out that NATO's leading states support extreme nationalists and neo-Nazis in Ukraine, who, in turn, will never forgive the Crimeans and Sevastopol residents for their free choice to reunite with Russia.
"Neo-Nazis in Ukraine will take war to Crimea to kill,” the Russian president said.
Eduard Basurin, a representative of the People's Militia of the Donetsk People's Republic, said that the goal of the Armed Forces of the Republic is to reach the administrative borders of the Donetsk region.
"Because the Donetsk People's Republic and the Luhansk People's Republic are within the administrative boundaries of those regions that were before 2014,” Basurin told Russia 24 TV channel.
On February 24, Russian President Putin announced a special military operation to protect the Donbass. He also called on the Armed Forces of Ukraine to lay down their arms and go home.
The Ukrainian military, who left the territory of the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, declared their desire to negotiate