May 17, 2022
Report from Kirovsk, a Lugansk People's Republic city I visited on May 5. It continues to be shelled by Ukrainian forces who were at the time reportedly 15-20 km away. According to local media, it was again shelled a few days ago.
The city's head of administration, Victoria Ivanovna, said its proximity to the line of separation has meant the shelling has been intense, with Ukrainian forces from 2014 targeting infrastructure, including schools and kindergartens. According to her, for a year and a half, the city was deprived of water, blocked by Ukraine—a war crime.
Andrey Vitalievich Marochko, a Lieutenant Colonel of LPR said that the reason the advance of LPR & Russian forces is not very fast is due to Ukraine's tactics of holding civilians hostage as human shields.
"What makes it difficult to advance is that on the other side, on the occupied side, there are citizens like us, citizens of the Lugansk People's Republic, who were forced to be in occupation for all these eight years. So, we care for their lives, naturally. We request pinpoint strikes on military infrastructure facilities and the accumulation of enemy manpower and equipment.
When planning an offensive, the leaders of the people’s militia of the Lugansk People’s Republic, as well as the military of the Russian Federation, take into account the principle that we shouldn’t leave scorched earth behind us, but liberate the territory. That is why we have difficulty advancing in all areas of the terrain.
Let’s not forget that the Ukrainian troops are using civilians as human shields. There is a lot of confirmation of the testimonies of people we have already liberated that the Ukrainian troops are literally putting civilians in front of them to prevent our troops from hitting concentrations of their equipment and armaments.
They also hold people as hostages. Just recently, in Popasnaya village we liberated over 20 people whom Ukrainian nationalists locked away in a basement, and the youth who were kept there, they used them as a slave labour, to carry manpads, create some fortifications... They threatened them that unless they take up arms, their relatives would be killed. All of this combined complicates the advancement of our troops."