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15 Dec, 2022 07:19

Ukraine hits Donetsk with worst shelling in eight years – mayor

A barrage of 40 Ukrainian rockets hit homes, shops and a cathedral in the frontline city’s center, causing severe damage 
Ukraine hits Donetsk with worst shelling in eight years – mayor

The city of Donetsk has been subjected to the largest-scale Ukrainian artillery attack since the region rebelled against Kiev in the wake of the 2014 armed coup in Kiev, local officials have said. A cathedral was among the buildings hit by Kiev’s artillery. 

Ukrainian troops fired 40 rockets from Grad multiple rocket launchers at several neighborhoods of central Donetsk at around 7 a.m. local time (4 a.m. GMT), Mayor Aleksey Kulemzin said on social media. Several conventional shells also hit the city both before and after the barrage, he added. 

Official images following the strikes show damaged buildings and cars amid widespread destruction. The central dome of a cathedral has been hit, according to photos published on social media. At least one projectile landed near a school, while others struck homes, shops and a children’s playground, according to the mayor. 

Kulemzin said at least six people were hurt during the shelling. Some were reportedly trapped under rubble, with emergency crews working to get them out, TASS news agency reported, citing the city rescue service.

On Wednesday, a watchdog recording attacks by Ukrainian troops on targets in the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics estimated that over 4,500 civilians had been killed in the two regions since mid-February, when Kiev intensified its strikes, before the Russian military intervention later that month.

In late February, Moscow recognized the two breakaway regions as sovereign states, citing Kiev’s unwillingness to implement a peace plan that would have allowed reconciliation with Donetsk and Lugansk. When Kiev refused to pull back troops, Russia sent its troops into Ukraine.

Moscow has since incorporated both provinces into its territory, after people living there voted in referendums for a transition. Kiev rejected the vote as a “sham” and pledged to continue hostilities against Russia.