Thu. Feb 22nd, 2024

In a devastating incident on Sunday, a crowded market in the Russian-occupied city of Donetsk, located in eastern Ukraine, became the site of a fatal strike, resulting in the loss of at least 25 lives and leaving 20 individuals wounded, according to statements from Moscow-backed officials.

The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine has witnessed both nations accusing each other of intensifying attacks on civilian areas in recent months.

Videos circulated by Russian state media depicted the aftermath of the attack, revealing shattered storefronts, broken glass, and what appeared to be lifeless bodies on the ground. Denis Pushilin, the head of the region’s Russian-controlled administration, confirmed the tragic toll and attributed the strike to Ukraine, labeling it a “horrific” artillery attack on a civilian zone. Ukraine has not immediately responded to these allegations, and the circumstances surrounding the incident remain unverified by AFP.

The strike, which hit a southwestern suburb of Donetsk less than 15 kilometers from Ukraine’s eastern front, elicited eyewitness accounts from residents. One local, Tatiana, described hearing an incoming projectile, seeking refuge under her market stall as chaos ensued. The attack drew condemnation from residents who questioned the military relevance of targeting a market, deeming it one of the most powerful blows in recent times.

The toll from this incident represents one of the deadliest in Donetsk since Moscow initiated full-scale hostilities against Ukraine in February 2022. Donetsk, under Russian occupation since 2014, has been a recurrent target of what Moscow alleges is indiscriminate shelling by Ukrainian forces. Moscow, characterizing Sunday’s strike as a “barbaric terrorist attack,” emphasized the necessity of its “special military operation” in Ukraine, claiming security threats originating from Ukrainian territory should not be tolerated.

As this tragedy unfolded, news emerged of another crisis in Russia, with a gas terminal in the Baltic Sea port of Ust-Luga reporting a blaze. This incident follows Kyiv’s recent claim of responsibility for two attacks on oil depots in Russia. Novatek, the terminal’s operator, reported no casualties, and the fire was said to be “currently localized.” The Ust-Luga complex processes natural gas condensate into various fuel components.

Despite the ongoing conflict, the situation remains fluid, with both sides accusing each other of aggression, further emphasizing the precarious nature of the geopolitical landscape in the region.

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