Donetsk shelling kills at least 25 in market in Russian-held city in Ukraine

Moscow-backed local authorities say shelling hit a market in Donetsk in the east of the country

People remove debris at a food market in Donetsk, Ukraine, after what local Russian-installed authorities say was a Ukrainian military strike. Reuters
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Shelling of a crowded market in the Russian-occupied city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine left at least 25 people dead and another 20 injured on Sunday, local Moscow-backed officials said.

Shattered shop windows and broken glass could be seen in videos shared by Russian state media, along with what appeared to be bodies lying on the ground nearby.

"At the moment, information about 25 dead has been confirmed," said Denis Pushilin, head of the region's Russian-controlled administration. "At least 20 more people have been injured."

He placed the blame on Ukraine for the strike, calling it a "horrific" artillery barrage on a civilian area.

Both Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of a sharp escalation in attacks on civilian areas over the past two months.

Officials in Kyiv did not immediately comment and news agencies have so far not been able to verify the circumstances of the attack.

The strike hit a south-western suburb of Donetsk, less than 15km from Ukraine's eastern front.

A resident identified as Tatiana said she heard an incoming shell and hid under her market stall.

"I saw smoke, people screamed, a woman was crying," she said.

"Where is there anything military here? It's just a market," another resident said.

The death toll is one of the highest in the city in a single attack since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Donetsk, which has been occupied by Russia and its proxy forces for 10 years, has been repeatedly targeted by what the Kremlin describes as indiscriminate Ukrainian shelling.

Also on Sunday, Russia's Defence Ministry announced its forces had taken control of the village of Krokhmalne in Ukraine's north-eastern Kharkiv region.

A military spokesman in Kyiv confirmed Ukrainian forces had withdrawn from the area, because it was too small to be significant.

Updated: January 22, 2024, 12:09 PM