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Hit the ground if you hear shelling, Ukrainians told

Amid a flurry of accusations in recent weeks that Russia’s armed forces could invade neighboring Ukraine, Kiev has briefed companies in the capital on how to act in an emergency situation or in the event of war.

Ukraine’s Vesti outlet shared the guide, more than 20 pages long, prepared by the Ministry of Culture on Thursday. In opening remarks, the authors of the leaflet aim to reassure readers that the country’s military is fully prepared to repel any potential “aggression.”

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“The current condition of the [Armed Forces of Ukraine] allows for the effective deterrence of the aggressor, as well as contribute to the comprehensive defense of the state and the prevention of crisis situations,” the pamphlet read.

In the section detailing how to act in a conflict zone or an emergency situation surrounded by potential firefights, Ukrainians are instructed to keep records of their blood type and information about health problems; to not engage in arguments with strangers; and to immediately evacuate the area if military equipment or people with weapons appear.

If sudden shelling breaks out, citizens should lie on the ground with their head to the opposite side of the explosions, shielding it with their hands or clothes. The leaflet also advises against wearing army uniforms or camouflaged outfits, and avoid any symbols which could be provocative.

The ministry also recommends people think through several points in advance in case of emergency and how to protect themselves, as well as their loved ones. Such advice includes stocking up on water, long shelf-life food, first aid supplies, medicines, flashlights and candles in case of power outages.

Other guidance calls for Ukrainians to prepare and maintain equipment to extinguish fires, as well as find out where the nearest shelters are located. A note also suggests thinking of using alternative means to heat homes in case the heat gets disconnected during grueling winter conditions.

The guide comes amid escalating tension on the Russian-Ukrainian border. Kiev’s intelligence service and Western officials have issued several warnings in recent weeks that Moscow could soon invade Ukraine, claims which Moscow has repeatedly rejected.

Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov has slammed reports alleging Russia’s armed forces are massing at the shared frontier as a precursor to staging an offensive. In November, Peskov said that “this hysteria, which is being stirred up now in the Anglo-Saxon media, in the Ukrainian media, and is supported by Ukrainian politicians led by the head of state [President Volodymyr Zelensky], is absolutely unacceptable.”

The latest accusations that Russia is planning an incursion into Ukraine come shortly after similar fears were raised in April last year. Such alarms have been an annual occurrence for some years now.

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