Donetsk, Feb 24 - DAN. Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republic militiamen have begun a joint operation with the Russian armed forces to liberate Donbass from the Ukrainian troops, DPR People’s Militia deputy commander Eduard Basurin said on Thursday.

“Amid the Ukrainian aggression, Donetsk People’s Republic Head Denis Pushilin asked President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin for assistance,” Basurin said. “At present, a special military operation has been launched jointly with Russian forces in the territory of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.”

Earlier on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in his address to the nation that he had made the decision to carry out a special military operation to protect Donbass.*jk