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8 Aug, 2014 09:42

4 killed, 18 injured as hospital, residential area shelled in Donetsk, E. Ukraine (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

4 killed, 18 injured as hospital, residential area shelled in Donetsk, E. Ukraine (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

“The hospital became a nightmare,” said a patient who survived after a major medical institution in Donetsk was shelled by Ukrainian troops in a series of attacks on residential neighborhoods that resulted in four casualties throughout the city.

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This is absurd,” 37-year old Dmitry Kozhur told AP correspondent on the ground. “We came here to keep living, but now we are risking death.”

One of the largest medical facilities in Donetsk, the Vishnevsky hospital №1, had its dentistry unit hit by a mortar shell on Thursday, with much of the second floor destroyed and burnt out as a result of the strike.

There was a sudden explosion,” witness Dr. Anna Kravtsova said. “A mortar round flew through the window.”

OSCE’s Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) that same day attended the hospital to register the damage done and speak with the survivors of the attack.

The SMM saw many evidently traumatized and crying civilians and medical staff,” the report reads. “Ten patients in their pajamas were outside the building. A doctor told the SMM that two civilians who had been standing outside the building at the time of the attack had been hit by shrapnel, one of whom, he said, had died.”

On top of its regular activities, the hospital has been providing treatment to civilians injured in the conflict.

A dental clinic in downtown Donetsk shelled by Ukrainian forces. (RIA Novosti/Mikhail Voskresenskiy)

Several residential buildings have also been hit in the shelling. The local healthcare officials said in a statement the overall death toll was four people, while 18 were injured.

As a result of the shelling of the residential districts four civilians died – one on the territory of the city hospital №1, another in Kirovsky district, and two more in Petrovsky district,” the statement reads.

The OSCE report speaks of the two apartment buildings examined by the members of the mission, both of which are 500 meters from the SBU (Ukrainian intelligence) building, occupied by the anti-Kiev forces.

The area has been shelled three times previously in the past three weeks,” the report says.

BREAKING #Donetsk apartment building hit by #Ukraine army shelling #Russia#UN#warcrimes#UkraineWarCrimes#Kievpic.twitter.com/gg16hgL59J

— E | Resistance (@ResistanceER) August 7, 2014

The cities of Donetsk and Lugansk remain major strongholds of anti-government forces fighting for the independence of the east Ukrainian territories from Kiev. The Ukrainian troops have advanced to the outskirts of the cities and have so far resorted to artillery fire in their effort to drive the insurgents out.

Five people from the same family were killed on Thursday in Lugansk as the basement they were taking refuge in, was shelled by Kiev government forces. An Orthodox Church suffered bomb damage in the city the same day.

Rockets shoot off from a Ukrainian Grad multiple rocket launcher towards the position of anti-Kiev militants in Donetsk region on August 7, 2014. (AFP Photo/Anatolii Stepanov)

The Ukrainian army could soon switch to street fighting.

I can’t say which of the cities [Donetsk or Lugansk] gets more attention, because our military personnel is stationed next to both of them, they are getting ready to free the cities,” Andrey Lysenko, spokesman for the Ukrainian Security Council said. “That’s going to be very hard, because we’ll have to set free street after street, building after building.”

The UN has earlier this week expressed concern over the way military operations have been conducted in eastern Ukraine.

What will happen if we have intense fighting inside the big urban centers of Lugansk and Donetsk?” UN High Commissioner for Refugees Vincent Cochetel asked. “Fighting in highly-intensified urban areas could lead to massive exodus and massive destruction.

The ongoing fighting in the east of Ukraine has already led to 118,000 people being internally displaced, and 740,000 having fled to Russia, the UN estimates. At least 1,367 people, civilians and military, have been killed and 4,087 people wounded in the military conflict.