MOSCOW, February 13 /TASS/. Two civilians died and five were wounded in the shelling of a residential quarter in the Ukrainian town of Artyomovsk, the press service of Ukraine’s Interior Ministry in the Donetsk region said on Friday.
The casualties include a seven-year-old boy. Another three children were wounded, the ministry said.
The Defense Ministry of the self-proclaimed Donetsk Peoples Republic /DPR/ has denied media reports that the militias shelled the government-controlled town of Artyomovsk.
"Reports blaming the DPR militia units for the shelling of Artyomovsk have appeared in the media. I have checked it specially that our nearest position is located in Logvinovo, about 32 kilometers away," the Donetsk news agency quoted Eduard Basurin, the DPR’s Defense Ministry spokesperson, as saying.
Basurin said that the Ukrainian army feared that the recent shelling of Artyomovsk and Kramatorsk would provoke a rebellion among the local population.
"The local people said that the fire had come from a mine, which is located in the direction of Slavyansk /controlled by government troops/. The people fixed that," Basurin stressed.
Sixteen civilians were killed and more than 60 were injured in the shelling of Kramatorsk, a mining town under the Ukrainian government control, early this week.
The Ukrainian side claimed the town had been shelled from the militia-held territory.
Basurin described the incident as a Ukrainian army provocation.
"Today, you could see the video reports from Kramatorsk with comments by Ukrainian television channels which said that the DPR militias had shelled Kramatorsk from Tornado, Smerch and Grad multiple rocket launcher systems /MRLS/ and used combat aviation. We have stated many times that we do not use artillery against peaceful cities and civilians, and we do not have an air force," Basurin told the Donetsk news agency.
He demanded that prior to accusing the Donetsk militias of anything a commission comprising representatives of OSCE, Russia, Ukraine, the DPR and other authorized organizations be set up to carry out an objective on-site investigation and fix all the facts. "For the moment, this situation is being regarded as a provocation on the part of the Ukrainian authorities who want to discredit the militias and the authorities of the DPR," Basurin said.