Russia says at least 25 killed in blast at Donetsk market

Authorities in Russian-occupied Donetsk accuse Ukraine of shelling a market on outskirts of city.

At least 27 people have been killed and 25 injured after a market on the outskirts of the Russian-occupied city of Donetsk was shelled, local authorities said.

Denis Pushilin, the head of the Moscow-installed authorities in Donetsk, blamed the attack on the suburb of Tekstilshchik on the Ukrainian military.

Pushilin said that the area had been hit by 155mm calibre and 152mm calibre artillery and that the shells had been fired from the direction of Kurakhove and Krasnohorivka to the west.

He announced a day of mourning on Monday.

“These terrorist attacks by the Kyiv regime clearly demonstrate its lack of political will towards achieving peace and the settlement of this conflict by diplomatic means,” Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

There was no immediate comment from Ukraine.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “strongly condemns all attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure, including today’s shelling of the city of Donetsk in Ukraine”, according to a UN spokesperson, adding that all such attacks were prohibited under international humanitarian law.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy did not address Tekstilshchik in his nightly video address but said that in a single day, Russia had shelled more than 100 cities, towns and villages in nine regions of Ukraine, and that the attacks in Donetsk region had been “particularly severe”.

Ukraine’s forces in the Tavria, or southern zone, said in a Facebook post that soldiers under its command were not responsible for the market shelling.

“Donetsk is Ukraine!” it said. “Russia will have to answer for taking lives of Ukrainians.”

Two men embrace each other at the site of a missile strike in Donetsk on January 21
Two men embrace at the site of a blast in Donetsk on January 21 [AFP]

Moscow-backed separatists have controlled the southeastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, known collectively as the Donbas, since 2014.

Russian President Vladimir Putin “recognised” them as separate republics shortly before launching his full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and they were among four Ukrainian regions Russia annexed in September 2022, in a move condemned as illegal at the United Nations General Assembly.

Separately on Sunday, Russia’s Ministry of Defence said the country’s forces had taken control of the village of Krokhmalne in Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv region.

Volodymyr Fityo, the spokesperson for the Ukrainian Ground Forces Command, told reporters that Kyiv’s forces had withdrawn from the area.

Fityo said that Krokhmalne had a population of roughly 45 people before the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022.

Reporting from Kyiv, Al Jazeea’s Rob McBride said Ukrainian authorities played down the significance of the withdrawal.

“They [Ukrainians] say this was a small village and they gave up only a couple of kilometres to the Russians… they say it was of little consequence for the overall situation,” Al Jazeera’s McBride said.

As Russia’s war in Ukraine nears its two-year mark, both Moscow and Kyiv’s forces have continued to fight from largely static positions along the roughly 1,500km (930-mile) front line throughout the winter.

Recent Russian attacks have also tried to find gaps in Ukraine’s defences by using large numbers of various types of missiles in an apparent effort to saturate air defence systems.



Al Jazeera and news agencies

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