KYIV, Ukraine – Artillery shells hit a town on the Ukrainian government-controlled side of the front lines in eastern Ukraine on Thursday, damaging a kindergarten and wounding three adult civilians, military personnel. Ukraine speakwhen the outbreak of a protracted conflict increased tensions between Kyiv and Moscow.
The artillery attack also knocked out electricity and sent residents running into basements for cover. The attack, no wonder given the level of violence that has dragged on for years, comes amid a Russian military buildup near the Ukrainian border.
The artillery barrage hit the town of Stanytsia Luhanska in northeastern Ukraine, which is located along the front line separating government forces from Russian-backed rebels in the war in eastern Ukraine. It is also close to the border with Russia, where Western governments say Moscow has amassed a large military force ready to invade Ukraine further.
The Ukrainian military’s statement blamed what it called “occupiers” for the attack, suggesting that artillery was fired by Russian-backed separatists that have been operating in eastern Ukraine for eight years. five.
Foreign Minister of Ukraine, Dmytro Kuleba, blame Russia for “serious violations” of the ongoing ceasefire in the region, while President Volodymyr Zelensky described it as “provocative shelling. In the past, Ukrainian and Western leaders have warned that an all-out Russian attack could be preceded by some kind of provocation, perhaps fabricated by Moscow.
In Brussels, US Secretary of Defense, Lloyd J. Austin III, said reports of shelling were “disturbing.” While the US was still gathering details, Mr. Austin said: “We’ve been saying for a while that the Russians could do something like this to justify a military conflict. So we will be watching this very closely. ”
Kremlin spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, did not comment directly on Ukraine’s allegations, but said that Moscow was worried about “an ongoing exchange of attacks” along the front and the “attack” The first one came from Ukraine.”
“We have warned many times that the excessive concentration of Ukrainian forces near the lines of communication, together with provocations, can pose a terrible danger,” Peskov said. He added that he hoped Western countries would warn Kyiv of “further escalation”.
Photos released by the Ukrainian military show a room in a kindergarten littered with bricks and toys. The military said that children were present at the site during the shelling but did not report any injuries among the students. The military said three nursery staff were injured, and said soldiers had evacuated children and staff to shelters.
Both artillery and small arms are common along the front lines, where an international monitoring group has often reported dozens to hundreds of ceasefire violations each day in recent years. Homes, schools, administrative buildings and infrastructure including power poles are often damaged. Earlier this year, Ukrainian authorities announced that a drone attack had hit an abandoned school in an eastern Ukrainian town.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/17/world/europe/stanytsia-lushankya-shelling.html Ukraine blames Russian-backed separatists for shelling in Stanytsia Lushanka