STANYTSIA LUHANSKA, Ukraine – Fighting between Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian government forces has raged for eight years. Daily skirmishes, mostly low-level, have become the norm.
But the outbreak of hostilities on Thursday, which comes at a particularly perilous time in tense relations between Russia and the West, has brought fears of a larger conflict near the homeland. for this dusty remote town not far from the Russian border.
Ukraine’s military said shells fired by Russian-backed separatists yesterday morning hit a kindergarten, injuring three teachers but no students, as well as the playground of a high school.
“It was a whistling sound, then an explosion,” said Tatyana Podikay, the director of a school called Fairytale Kindergarten.
The military also said two soldiers and a woman at a bus stop were injured. No deaths have been reported.
In the evening, crisp explosions rang out from buildings and flashes of light from artillery shells cast shadows on trees. Out on the dark street, explosions rang out between the buildings. At least two balls half a dozen long each hit the town, arriving with a loud screech before exploding. The drivers stopped, got out, and listened anxiously.
Each side blamed the other for the shelling, which is seen as a concern in Ukraine and in Western capitals because of the potential for it to erupt into a larger conflict. Analysts said the nature of the shelling, which hit multiple locations along the lines of communication in just one day, was unusual compared with recent months.
“Today it was synchronized and long-distance shelling,” said Maria Zolkina, a Ukrainian political analyst working at the Organization for the Initiative for Democracy. “It happens at the same time. This is remarkable. ”
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/18/world/europe/a-whistling-sound-then-an-explosion-shelling-hits-a-kindergarten-in-ukraine.html ‘A whistle, then an explosion’: Shelling hits a kindergarten in Ukraine.