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15 Jun, 2014 01:53

Nurse killed as Ukraine's army shells hit Slavyansk hospitals

A nurse died in the city of Slavyansk after a Ukrainian military shell hit a local hospital on Saturday. Meanwhile, a Ruptly journalist came under fire while visiting a shelled maternity hospital in the eastern Ukrainian city.

The Ukrainian army resumed the shelling of Slavyansk on Saturday afternoon, causing more damage to the city and igniting fires, the local administration told RIA Novosti.

“In the afternoon the Ukrainian army shelled the center of Slavyansk, apparently trying to hit the self-defense forces. One of the shells hit the hospital. Two people were injured. One of them – a seriously injured nurse – passed away,” the source said.

All the patients and staff of the hospital took shelter in the basement when the shelling began.

In another incident, 10 journalists came under artillery fire while visiting a shelled maternity hospital in Slavyansk. They were forced to hide in the hospital’s basement for about 20 minutes before coming out, but the shelling started again once they attempted to leave the building. The maternity hospital was evacuated a week ago.

One of the journalists caught in the gunfire, Andrey Krasnoschekov, described the situation to RT.

“When we, a group of journalists, got information that a maternity hospital in the town center has been damaged we headed there, started recording interviews in the hospital’s yard, then entered the building and at that moment the new attack started,” he said.

“We ran into the basement and stayed there for 20 minutes. Then we left the building, but heard new shelling quite close and had to hide again. The building is quite seriously damaged, nearly all the windows are broken,” he added.

On Saturday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said the Ukrainian army had launched a counter-offensive for the first time.

You should know that today the Ukrainian army for the first time launched a counter-offensive. Our troops started to press terrorists,” the president said. “I tasked the armed forces of Ukraine to take control of Ukraine’s state border through which terrorists get weapons, equipment, support, and money," he said.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian military has cracked down on self-defense forces in Kramatorsk, killing more than 50 people and injuring 150 others in an airstrike, military operation spokesperson Vladislav Seleznev said on his Facebook page.

Two self-defense checkpoints around Lugansk were also destroyed on Saturday.

Poroshenko also announced that the national army gained control of 11 residential areas in southeastern Ukraine which were previously under the control of self-defense forces.

Kiev’s reports of military victories come a day after it lost 49 troops in Lugansk, when a military transport plane was downed while trying to land at the city’s airport. The incident apparently marked a breakthrough in the Lugansk militia’s offensive against the Kiev-controlled airport, which, the militia said, fell into their hands over Saturday.