At least six civilians have been killed in the latest round of rocket and artillery strikes on the city center
At least six people were killed after the city of Donetsk came under fire from Ukrainian forces on Tuesday, the mayor has said. The total number of those injured is still being determined. Missiles struck several civilian buildings, causing fires and thick smoke to stretch out across the city.
According to Donetsk Mayor Aleksey Kulemzin, Kiev's forces hit a business center, a market, the Donbass Arena, a sports palace, several shopping centers, a bus station, residential buildings, a cathedral, and the local prosecutor's office.
"There are huge columns of black smoke above the center of Donetsk, which are visible from several districts," Kulemzin wrote, adding that the business center is on fire, as well as several vehicles and stalls in the targeted areas.
He noted that the shelling of the city was ongoing and urged civilians to seek shelter.
The attacks come one day after Kiev's forces caused the death of at least four civilians in a massive artillery shelling and rocket attack on residential areas in Donetsk. The local Joint Center on Control and Coordination (JCCC) reported that at least three buildings were damaged in the attack, which it describes as "war crimes" committed by the Ukrainian government. It also noted that Kiev's forces used Grad BM-21 rocket launchers as well as Soviet and NATO caliber artillery shells.
Donetsk has been subjected to heavy artillery and missile attacks by Ukrainian forces on an almost daily basis since Russia launched its military campaign against Kiev in late February. Before this, the city endured low-intensity fighting and occasional shelling from the Ukrainian army since 2014, when the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics rejected the rule of the government in Kiev in the aftermath of the Maidan coup.
This fall, the two republics, along with Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions, formally joined Russia after voting overwhelmingly in favor of the move in referendums.