Shelling in Ukraine39s Donetsk kills 27 Russian backed officials say.jpgw1440

Shelling in Ukraine's Donetsk kills 27, Russian-backed officials say – The Washington Post

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At least 27 people were killed on Sunday when shells struck a Russian-controlled region in eastern Ukraine, local officials and the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

Donetsk city authorities blamed the Ukrainian military for the attacks, saying the shells fell in a busy shopping area in the Tekstilshchik district. According to Denis Pushilin, the Moscow-appointed head of the separatist Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), 25 people were injured in the attack.

In a post on Telegram, Pushilin said 155mm and 152mm artillery shells were fired at Donetsk from two regions west of the city, close to the front line. There was no immediate comment from Kiev and The Washington Post could not immediately verify the claims.

Images from the aftermath of the attack showed bodies on the ground and in the snow, some covered with blankets or lying next to crates of fruit. Parts of an adjacent building were severely damaged and the surrounding area was blackened by the explosion. Officials from the Russian Investigative Committee were also shown inspecting the crime scene and removing victims.

In a statement, the Russian Defense Ministry called the incident a “brutal terrorist attack” and said it was carried out with “Western-supplied weapons.”

Russia's heavy airstrikes and grenade attacks have also killed thousands of civilians across Ukraine. Russia invaded the country in 2022 and illegally annexed some regions, including Donetsk, where pro-Moscow separatists have operated under Russian cover for years.

Since the invasion, Ukraine has recaptured some territory from Russian forces, but now the front lines are largely frozen as the conflict descends into a bitter stalemate.

In recent weeks, both sides have relied on long-range missile attacks, including a massive Russian barrage on Ukrainian cities on December 29. The next day, a combined rocket and missile attack on the Russian city of Belgorod killed at least two dozen people, with authorities also blaming Ukraine for one attack.

On January 2, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia had used nearly 300 missiles and more than 200 drones in attacks on Ukraine since the December 29 bombing – a tactic that could deplete Kiev's air defenses.

On Sunday, Pushilin said the DPR would observe a day of mourning for the victims.

Ilyushina reported from Riga, Latvia.