Donetsk: Deadly blast hits market in Russia-held Ukraine city, officials say

People remove debris at a food market following, what local Russian-installed authorities say, was a Ukrainian military strike in the course of Russia-Ukraine conflict in Donetsk, Russian-controlled Ukraine
Image caption,Russian-installed officials in Donetsk blamed Ukraine for the strike, although Kyiv has not commented

By Oliver Slow

BBC News

At least 27 people have been killed in a shelling attack in the Russian-held city of Donetsk, the Moscow-installed leader of the region says.

Denis Pushilin said a Ukrainian strike, which also injured 25 people, had hit a busy market and that the casualty figures might change.

Russia’s foreign ministry denounced the strike as a “barbaric terrorist attack” against civilians.

There has so far been no comment from Ukraine on the incident.

BBC News was not able to immediately verify the circumstances around the strike.

Mr Pushilin said the “horrendous” strike took place when the market was at its busiest.

Photographs published by Reuters news agency appeared to show destroyed shop fronts, as well as bodies lying in the street.

According to AFP, a local resident named Tatiana told local media she heard an incoming projectile overhead, and hid under her market stall.

“I saw smoke, people screamed, a woman was crying,” she was quoted as saying.

Donetsk city and parts of the wider region in eastern Ukraine were first seized by Russian-backed forces in 2014, and the area has been partially controlled by Moscow ever since.

The city is around 20km (12 miles) from the frontline. Areas near Donetsk city – including Mariinka and Avdiivka – have seen some of the fiercest fighting of late.

It has been almost two years since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, but it has made little progress in recent months.

On Saturday it claimed to have captured the village of Krokhmalne in north-eastern Ukraine’s Kharkiv region. A Ukrainian military spokesman confirmed its forces had withdrawn from the area, but said the territory was of little military importance.

Days earlier Moscow also claimed to have taken control of a settlement named Vesele in Donetsk. Kyiv has not confirmed the claim.

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