MOSCOW, February 26. /TASS/. Russian forces have swept into Melitopol meeting no resistance during the operation aimed at demilitarizing Ukraine, the Russian Defense Ministry told reporters.
"In the evening of February 26, after an amphibious landing near the populated locality of Azovskoye (Ukraine), Russian units were on the march, and entered Melitopol, meeting no resistance. Melitopol residents welcomed the Russian troops who were moving around the city. Some elderly citizens took to the streets [waving] red flags," the defense ministry said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a televised address on Thursday morning that in response to a request by the heads of the Donbass republics he had made a decision to carry out a special military operation in order to protect people "who have been suffering from abuse and genocide by the Kiev regime for eight years." The Russian leader stressed that Moscow had no plans of occupying Ukrainian territories.
When clarifying the unfolding developments, the Russian Defense Ministry reassured that Russian troops are not targeting Ukrainian cities, but are limited to surgically striking and incapacitating Ukrainian military infrastructure. There are no threats whatsoever to the civilian population.