In the city of Donetsk in Ukraine, between 8 and 13 civilians were killed and 20 were injured from mortars, which are large weapons that fire explosive shells. The trolley bus was hit, as well as a nearby car and a nearby building that now has all its windows blown out. The incident allowed Pro-Russia separatists to take the much coveted Donetsk airport from Ukrainian forces.
DNR guys on the scene say it was an attack by a diversionary group from inside the city. pic.twitter.com/8FNOq9QkKc
— Shaun Walker (@shaunwalker7) January 22, 2015
It’s happened before- the two groups have largely different versions of the story and are each blaming one another. Pro-Russia separatists who control Donetsk blamed government troops for shelling the bus stop, but the Ukrainian military said its forces were too far away to have hit it and are calling it an act of terrorism, demanding Russia to step in and stop it.
According to The Guardian, the most intense fighting has come at Donetsk airport. Until last May it was a shiny new complex built for the Euro 2012 football tournament, but it become a largely symbolic military prize. It was controlled by the Ukrainians since the beginning of the conflict despite several rebel attempts to seize it, and the airport’s defenders, known as “cyborgs”, became cult heroes in Ukraine for defending it. Losing it will be an extremely large blow to the military’s morale and credibility of the government.
There has been fierce fighting for 9 months between Ukrainian forces battled Russia-backed separatists to gain control of Donetsk and its surrounding areas, including the Donetsk airport.
This incident happened following the latest Berlin peace talks that occurred on Wednesday and included the foreign ministers of Ukraine and Russia, as well as Germany and France. Their aim was to negotiate on how to stop the violence and implement a peace deal that was agreed upon last year.
Rebels on the scene said 13 people had died, but the morgue said it had received eight bodies from the scene.
“I saw dead people on the floor, and injured women screaming for help,” said Ivan, a 74-year-old who lives in the building next to the blast. He had a cut face from his windows, which had been blown out by the explosion. “It was a scene of total chaos.”