Ukraine army chief rules out offensive against pro-Russia separatists

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Ukraine’s military on Friday said it would not launch an offensive against pro-Russia separatists controlling two regions in the country's east, as fears grow of a major escalation in the long-running conflict.

“The liberation of the temporarily occupied territories by force will inevitably lead to the death of a large number of civilians and casualties among the military, which is unacceptable for Ukraine,” Ruslan Khomchak, chief of the general staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, said in a statement.

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Khomchak was also quoted by Interfax Ukraine news agency as saying on Friday that Russia is trying to discredit Ukraine with a disinformation campaign and to sow panic in its eastern Donbass region.

The head of Ukraine’s Armed Forces, said Kiev had intensified military dialogue with NATO and the country’s military was taking part in training events, including NATO drills.

“Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic choice is the sovereign right of our state, which Russia has no right to influence,” Khomchak said.

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