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Ukrainian military shell downtown Slavyansk in east Ukraine

May 31, 2014, 3:03 UTC+3 SLAVYANSK
Kiev has been conducting what it has dubbed “an antiterrorism operation” against pro-federalization activists
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© EPA/MAXIM SHIPENKOV

SLAVYANSK, May 31. /ITAR-TASS/. Kiev-controlled military units have briefly shelled the center of the city of Slavyansk in eastern Ukraine from artillery guns, a spokeswoman for people’s mayor of Slavyansk Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, Stella Khorosheva, said Saturday.

“They have fallen silent now,” Khorosheva said. They usually start shelling in the morning and evening. There are no data on destructions and those injured yet. Fire was delivered on the city center.”

Earlier a militia representative told Itar-Tass that fire was being delivered from the Karachun Mountain. He said “intense fire from mortars and howitzers” lasted a few hours.

On the night from May 29 to 30, a children’s hospital came under fire from the Ukrainian military. A children’s clinic was also damaged. A militia spokesman said children were inside but they were unharmed. The chief physician of the hospital said “a wall was partly destroyed, over 100 windows were smashed.”

On May 28, as a result of artillery shelling of Artema, a residential district in Slavyansk, a shell broke through the roof of a school. Children and teachers hid in the basement and were unhurt. Four people were killed when the same area was shelled on May 27.

Russian children’s rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov quoted the Donetsk Region’s healthcare department as saying seven children were injured by bullets on occasions when the Ukrainian army opened fire on residential districts of Slavyansk.

A coup occurred in Ukraine in February and the country has been in turmoil since then. New people were brought to power amid riots as President Viktor Yanukovich had to leave the country the same month citing security concerns.

Massive protests against the new Ukrainian authorities erupted in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking southeastern territories after the secession of the Crimean Peninsula, which declared independence on March 11 and joined Russia on March 18 following a referendum.

Demonstrators in southeastern regions, who have been demanding the country’s federalization, seized some government buildings. Kiev has been conducting what it has dubbed “an antiterrorism operation” against pro-federalization activists. Russia, which does not recognize the new Kiev authorities, has said the operation, which has already claimed dozens of lives, is punitive.

The eastern Ukrainian Donetsk and Lugansk regions held referendums on May 11, in which most voters supported independence from Ukraine.

Ukraine held a presidential election set by the coup-imposed authorities on Sunday, May 25. Billionaire businessman and politician Pyotr Poroshenko won the election with 54.7% of the vote, according to the latest data from the Ukrainian Central Election Commission. Poroshenko’s closest rival, Batkivshchina party leader, ex-premier Yulia Timoshenko gained 12.82%

Denis Pushilin, the chairman of the Supreme Council presidium of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), told Itar-Tass Tuesday that more than 50 militiamen and 20-50 civilians have died since Ukrainian law enforcers re-launched the active phase of their military operation in Donetsk on Monday, the next day after the presidential election.

Clashes near the Sergey Prokofyev International Airport in Donetsk started on Monday morning. Ukraine’s law enforcers used attack aircraft, including fighters and combat helicopters. Fighting in the area was ongoing all day and throughout the night.

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