“On Pobeda Avenue in Mariupol, DPR servicemen clashed with a unit of Ukrainian armed nationalists.

The militants drove more than 150 civilians ahead of them, hiding behind them, as a “human shield,” he said.

The nationalists opened fire on the DPR fighters “from behind the backs of civilians”, as a result of their shooting, four civilians were killed, five more were injured, the Ministry of Defense noted.

“The fighters of the people’s militia of the DPR escorted the released civilians through the Vinogradnoye district from Mariupol to the controlled territory.

All of them received the necessary assistance,” Konashenkov said.

The day before, the People's Militia of the DPR stated that militants from the Azov national battalion shot down a column of civilians who were trying to leave Mariupol along the humanitarian corridor in the direction of Novoazovsk.

On March 4, Russian President Vladimir Putin told German Chancellor Olaf Scholz that Ukrainian nationalists were using people, including foreigners, as human shields.

Retired Colonel Douglas McGregor, a former adviser to the US Secretary of Defense, saw "Islamist tactics" in the actions of the Ukrainian military, which "used people as human shields" to avoid destruction.