The Armed Forces of Ukraine have turned into a terrorist organization that intentionally attacks ambulances, Russian President Vladimir Putin said while speaking at the ‘Everything for Victory’ forum in Tula on Friday.
He was commenting on attacks carried out by the Ukrainian military on residential areas of Russian cities in the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), which have led to a number of civilian casualties.
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In one such attack on January 20, a paramedic working in the city of Gorlovka was wounded while trying to provide assistance to victims following a previous round of shelling. On January 12, another paramedic was also killed during a Ukrainian attack on an ambulance brigade in the same city.
”What is called the Armed Forces of Ukraine has turned into a terrorist organization that attacks ambulances,” Putin said.
The president recalled a story he heard last year about how Russian forces intercepted communications between two Ukrainian tank operators who were trying to enter Donetsk. One of the servicemen had just killed a man who had stepped out of his house, Putin said, when the other officer asked him “Why did you do that? He was just some guy wearing a tracksuit. He had a family, you can hear his children running around in the house.” The response, according to Putin, was “They’re all terrorists here.”
“What is this if not neo-Nazism? That’s not to mention the rounds of applause for actual SS officers in the Canadian parliament and the blatant attacks on medical workers and ambulance vehicles,” added the president.
Russia knows of the tremendous strain put on medical personnel working in the territory of the DPR and other regions, he added, vowing to continue support for them. Work would be done to provide hazard pay to ambulance drivers, the president said.
Earlier this week, Putin claimed there is a need to create a larger “demilitarized zone” in Ukraine that would ensure that peaceful Russian cities would no longer be targeted by Kiev’s foreign-made, long-range weapons.