Shelling adds to mount­ing civil­ian toll in Ukraine

The Covington News - - WORLD -

DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) — Shells smashed into a res­i­den­tial neigh­bor­hood of Donetsk on Tues­day as Ukrainian forces in­ten­si­fied their cam­paign to en­cir­cle the rebel strong­hold. The shelling killed at least two peo­ple, blew gap­ing holes in an apart­ment block and raised fears that the city is on the verge of se­vere blood­shed.

Fight­ing also raged else­where in Ukraine’s trou­bled east, bring­ing the death toll to at least 24 civil­ians and 10 soldiers over the past day. And it pre­vented in­ter­na­tional in­ves­ti­ga­tors once again from vis­it­ing the site of the Malaysia Air­lines jet shot down ear­lier this month.

The in­creased dan­ger to civil­ians has brought sharp crit­i­cism from the United Na­tions and hu­man rights groups. But each side blames the other for shelling res­i­den­tial ar­eas.

The rebels in­sist the at­tacks are ev­i­dence of what they de­scribe as the govern­ment’s in­dis­crim­i­nate op­pres­sion of its own peo­ple. But Ukraine in­sists that it has banned the use of ar­tillery in res­i­den­tial ar­eas and in turn ac­cuses sep­a­ratists of tar­get­ing civil­ians in an ef­fort to dis­credit the army.

Donetsk un­til re­cently had seen lit­tle fight­ing other than a rebel at­tempt in May to seize the city’s air­port. But Tues­day’s bar­rage, along with last week’s shelling of the city’s main rail­road sta­tion, has brought the war pain­fully close to the city of nearly 1 mil­lion. Ukrainian forces have made ad­vances against rebels in nearby towns.

Fight­ing be­tween Ukrainian forces and pro-Rus­sia sep­a­ratists also has been heavy around Luhansk, the sec­ond-largest city held by the rebels. Five peo­ple died when ar­tillery fire hit a home for the elderly there on Mon­day, lo­cal au­thor­i­ties said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.