Ukrainian forces are strengthening anti-aircraft missile defenses, and repositioning air defense regiments near international airports, the separatist People's Militia of the Donetsk People's Republic claimed according to their intelligence sources.
The militia asserted that the Ukrainian government could threaten passenger aircraft with the anti-air weapons as a "provocation."
"The People's Militia of the DPR does not have aircraft flying at such a height," that the weapon platforms are capable of firing at, the rebel group reasoned.
The militia said that the Ukrainian military is armed with S-300 and BUK-M1 weapon systems, which are Soviet-era air defense armaments.
Both the Russian-backed separatists and the Ukrainian government have accused one another of committing false flag operations.
"In the absence of any aggressive action by Ukrainian defenders, the invaders themselves blow up infrastructure facilities in the occupied territories and carry out chaotic shelling of settlements," a Monday Ukrainian Defense Ministry statement said. "It is obvious that the enemy continues to use its propaganda methods of waging information warfare in order to accuse the Armed Forces of Ukraine and escalate the situation."
At the Munich security conference on Saturday, Ukranian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov claimed that "the command of the Russian occupation forces allocates artillery and armed vehicles among residential buildings and from there, shells our localities. It is the behavior of criminals who provoke us to make mistakes."
"The information sphere is now filled with fakes that reveal the true intentions of the Russian side," Reznikov said on Friday, accusing "Russian puppets" of intimidating the local population and calling for evacuations.
"Yesterday, Russian propaganda spread a blatant lie about the shelling of Stanytsa Luhanska, which we quickly refuted," the minister also said on Friday.
"Today they invented another fake about some sabotage groups, which allegedly were going to arrange a chemical attack in Horlivka. They even shot a staged video. But as for themselves, they fired at the UN humanitarian mission at the entry checkpoint," he said.
Russia's Investigative Committee claimed on February 16 that mass graves of hundreds of Russian-speaking civilians had been found in the Donbas region, with Russian President Vladimir Putin stating the day prior that "what is happening in the Donbas is genocide."
On February 15, the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic claimed that Ukraine's Defense Ministry could have placed an IED at the planned location for a rally for the Russian Memorial Day of soldiers-internationalists, which commemorates soldiers who fell while operating abroad.
In 2014, a Malaysia Airlines flight, MH17, was shot down while it was flying over rebel-held territory. 298 people were killed when the flight was hit by a BUK SAM missile.