A powerful explosion hit Druzhba gas pipeline in Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR), leading to a fire and damaging local gas infrastructure .
As tension between Russia and Kyiv remain at a peak with escalated shelling in anti-government controlled territories in east Ukraine, a powerful explosion hit Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR), damaging local gas infrastructure.
The massive blast occurred in the Druzhba gas pipeline, leading to a huge fire, Sputnik reported, citing the management of the gas manufacturing unit.
“At 00:10 on 19 February, calls began to arrive about a major fire on the gas pipeline near Malaya Vergunka, emergency teams of the State Unitary Enterprise ‘Luganskgaz’ went to the scene,” “Luganskgaz,”
told reporters, as quoted by Sputnik.
The incident comes after new Russian invasion fears spurred in Europe after pro-Russian rebels increased mortar shelling along the frontlines in eastern Ukraine. Meanwhile, a humanitarian convoy evacuating civilians from the conflict zone was hit by artillery exchanges near the eastern city of Donetsk, the Associated Press reported.
Meanwhile, the sporadic eruption of cross-border retaliatory shelling has pushed at least 25,000 residents of self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) to cross the border into Russia, LPR Emergencies Ministry said on Saturday, as quoted by Sputnik.
Notably, LPR and DPR announced an evacuation of their citizens in the wake of a military quagmire at the anti-Kyiv regions near the Ukraine-Russia border. The 25,000 citizens were moved to Russia’s Rostov Region in their personal transport. In addition, three more convoys with a total of 10,000 refugees are being prepared to move across the border as a precautionary measure.
Biden ‘convinced’ Russia wants to invade Ukraine
Addressing a press briefing on Friday, US President Joe Biden expressed his disappointment with the Russian aggression along the Ukraine border. Saying that he is “convinced” that Putin has made a decision to invade Ukraine, he said that Washington is ready to impose “severe sanctions” on Russia “if it chooses war.” Biden said,
“As of this moment, I am convinced he (Putin) has made the decision. But it is not too late to reverse that decision. Russia can still choose diplomacy. It is not too late to de-escalate and return to the negotiation table.”
He also stressed that the US and its European are ready to impose “severe” sanctions on Russia as retaliation to Ukraine’s invasion.
The cascade of developments follows an announcement by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who declared massive nuclear drills near the occupied territories in a bid to flex military strength against potential Western threats posed by expansion missions of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). This comes as earlier this week Putin agreed to follow the path of diplomacy to quell further exacerbation of the standoff between Kyiv and Moscow, which has now evidently gripped the West.