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26 Jul, 2014 15:46

Over 20 killed, 80 injured in ‘worst’ shelling of Lugansk by Ukrainian forces

At least 24 civilians were killed and another 85 injured as the city of Lugansk in eastern Ukraine was heavily shelled by Kiev forces on Friday and Saturday, media reported.

The bombardment of the city, home to over 400,000 people, began at around 06:00 PM local time on Friday and went on during the night and through Saturday morning.

Kiev forces hit 22 buildings, including a school and a kindergarten. Self-defense forces told the LifeNews Channel that 24 have died, adding that the death toll may rise as shelling of the city continues.

An eyewitness told RT that around 10 people were killed at a bus stop in the Yubileynoe village, which is also a part of Lugansk.

“Peaceful civilians were torn into pieces at the bus stop,” Viktor said, adding that the attack by Kiev forces was “aimed exclusively at the civilian population.”

“They’re targeting private houses... There are no checkpoints, no troops, no self-defense forces there,” he said.

An image grab taken from RUPTLY video

The press service of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic claimed that government forces used mortars and heavy artillery in their assault. Five people died on Friday and 15 more on Saturday.

“It was the worst shelling of Lugansk that I’ve ever seen,”
said Aleksey Toporov from the Lugansk People’s Republic, as cited by the Russkaya Vesna website.

#Луганск. Стадион Авангард после попадания мины. Разбитая трибуна, осколки и воронка в газоне. pic.twitter.com/XjMPUd2Ggc

— Lugansk News Today (@LUGANSK_TODAY) July 26, 2014

Shelling over night has damaged several power lines, said Manolisa Pilavova, first deputy mayor of Lugansk.

“At the moment, about 60 percent of people are without electricity,” Pilavova told Interfax-Ukraine.

The intensity of Ukrainian fire decreased midday on Saturday, after self-defense forces counter-attacked Ukrainian military positions in the Lugansk airport, the press service of the Lugansk People’s Republic said. Airborn units, who were stationed there, suffered “serious damage.”

An image grab taken from RUPTLY video

Kiev’s military crackdown on the southeast of Ukraine started in mid-April, after residents in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions refused to recognize the coup-imposed authorities in Kiev and demanded federalization.

The Ukrainian military and National Guard resorted to airstrikes and shelling in their struggle against self-defense forces in Donetsk and Lugansk.

On July 10, Ukraine’s deputy health minister said 478 civilians have been killed in the conflict, with nearly 1,400 people receiving injuries, but the death toll has surely increased drastically since then.

Lugansk stadium pic.twitter.com/XBx8nQDLEp

— idaltae (@idaltae) July 26, 2014