Arsen Avakov dismissed talk that Kiev suspended its "anti-terrorist operation" (ATO) in the face of threats from Moscow after Ukrainian troops closed in on the rebel stronghold.
"There has been no suspension of the ATO in connection to the threat of invasion by Russia's armed forces," he wrote on his Facebook page. "The ATO goes on. The terrorists should be on their guard around the clock. Civilians have nothing to fear."
Denying suggestions that Kiev's forces are stretched, he also stressed that care was being taken to avoid non-combatant casualties, after Moscow warned it may act to protect civilians.