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Ukraine’s Zelenskiy says pro-Russian forces shell kindergarten in ‘big provocation’

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Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Thursday that pro-Russian forces in eastern Donbass region had shelled a kindergarten and this was a “big provocation.”

“It’s important that diplomats and the OSCE remain in, their monitoring activities are an additional deterrent. We need an effective mechanism for recording all ceasefire violations,” Zelenskiy said on Twitter.

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Meanwhile, NATO is worried Russia could be trying to create a pretext for an invasion in Ukraine, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday, commenting on reports of shelling across the ceasefire line in the eastern Ukrainian region of the Donbass.

“We are concerned that Russia is trying to stage a pretext for an armed attack against Ukraine, there is still no clarity, no certainty about the Russian intentions,” Stoltenberg told reporters after a two-day meeting of NATO defense ministers at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels.

In London, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said on Thursday that the Russian government was attempting to fabricate a pretext to invade Ukraine with alleged reports of abnormal activity by Ukrainian forces.

Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine accused government forces on Thursday of opening fire on their territory four times in the past 24 hours and said they were trying to establish if anyone had been hurt or killed.

“Reports of alleged abnormal military activity by Ukraine in Donbas are a blatant attempt by the Russian government to fabricate pretexts for invasion. This is straight out of the Kremlin playbook,” Truss said on Twitter, adding that Britainwould “continue to call out Russia’s disinformation campaign.”

President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Russia does not want a war in Europe.

Read more: NATO’s open-door policy won’t change, Moscow told: UK defense minister

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