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Strike on busy market kills 25 in eastern Ukraine

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MOSCOW: A strike on a crowded market in the Russian-occupied city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine left at least 25 people dead and 20 wounded on Sunday, Moscow-backed officials said.

Both Moscow and Kyiv have accused each other of a sharp escalation in attacks on civilian areas in the past two months. Shattered storefronts 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. At least 20 more people have been injured,” said Denis Pushilin, head of the region’s Russian-controlled administration.

He blamed Ukraine for the strike, calling it a “horrific” attack on a civilian area. Ukraine did not immediately comment. Officials said the strike hit a southwestern suburb of the city, less than 15 kilometres from the eastern front. Local resident Tatiana said she heard an incoming projectile overhead, and hid under her market stall.

Fire engulfs Russian LNG plant after suspected drone attack

“I saw smoke, people screamed, a woman was crying,” she told a local media outlet.

“Where is there anything military here? It’s just a market,” another resident named Tatiana told the same outlet. “This is one of the strongest blows in recent times,” she said.

The toll marks one of the deadliest in Donetsk since Moscow launched full-scale hostilities against Ukraine in February 2022. Donetsk, occupied by Russia and its proxy forces since 2014, has been repeatedly targeted by what Moscow has called indiscriminate Ukrainian shelling.

Moscow called Sunday’s attack a “barbaric terrorist attack” that showed the need for its “special military operation” in Ukraine. “Security threats and acts of terrorism should not be committed from the territory of Ukraine,” its foreign ministry said.

Gas terminal ablaze

A fire broke out at a Baltic Sea terminal belonging to Novatek, Russia’s largest liquefied natural gas producer, after a suspected Ukrainian drone attack, forcing the company to suspend some operations there.

The Ust-Luga complex, located on the Gulf of Finland about 170 km west of St. Petersburg, processes stable gas condensate into light and heavy naphtha, jet fuel, fuel oil and gasoil, according to Novatek’s website. The port is used to ship processed products to international markets.

The Interfax-Ukraine news agency, citing unnamed sources, said the fire was the result of a special operation carried out by Ukraine’s security services. “The Ust-Luga Oil terminal in the Len­ingrad region is an important facility for the enemy. Fuel is refined there, which, among other things, is also supplied to Russian troops,” it cited one source as saying.

“A successful attack on such a terminal not only causes economic damage to the enemy, depriving the occupiers of the opportunity to earn money to wage war in Ukraine, but also significantly complicates the logistics of fuel for the Russian military.”

Alexander Drozdenko, the Leningrad region’s governor, said on the Telegram messaging app, that there had been no casualties and that all workers had been safely evacuated.

Published in Dawn, January 22nd, 2024


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