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East Ukraine's Spartak shelled for 12 hours — local authorities

August 21, 2015, 10:33 UTC+3 MOSCOW
According to local authorities, Ukrainian forces shelled Spartak from tanks from the settlements of Avdeyevka and Opytnoye
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© Mikhail Sokolov/TASS

MOSCOW, August 21. /TASS/. Ukrainian forces have been shelling the settlement of Spartak to the north of Donetsk for 12 hours, local administration said on Friday.

"They [Ukrainian forces] started shelling in the evening yesterday, as soon as it got dark. The shells hit the suburbs of the settlement, the field and the cemetery," an administration spokesperson told Donetsk News Agency.

According to local authorities, Ukrainian forces shelled Spartak from tanks from the settlements of Avdeyevka and Opytnoye. The information on whether anyone was injured in the shellings in being verified.

The settlement of Spartak near the Donetsk airport is shelled by Ukrainian forces almost daily. Most infrastructure has been destroyed in the settlement, and it is hardly possible to restore it any time soon. The authorities of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) have repeatedly tried to evacuate Spartak residents, by some of them refuse to leave their houses.

Kiev's grouping of troops built up to 90,000 ahead of offensive

After a recent aggravation of the situation in east Ukraine, the militia on Thursday announced they have information that Kiev forces are planning an offencive aiming to encircle Donetsk. 

According to the self-proclaimed Donetsk republic, on August 20 the grouping of pro-Kiev armed units in eastern Ukraine totaled 90,000 men and officers, 450 tanks, 203 salvo artillery units, and five Tochka-U missile complexes. The troops are concentrated in four sectors - Mariupol, Donetsk, Debaltsevo, and Luhansk.

"Information has been received about the plan of forthcoming actions by the Ukrainian army from a source in the Ukrainian General Staff and, no matter how strange this may seem, there are still true officers there who do not want to fight against their own people," Eduard Basurin said at a briefing in the press center of the Donetsk News Agency.

According to Basurin, the Ukrainian military will launch an offensive in the Mariupol and Debaltsevo directions after "artillery shelling of the DPR’s positions."

"Kiev plans to deliver two converging blows in the direction of the settlement of Uspenka to defeat the DPR and advance to the border with Russia and subsequently prevent civilians from reaching the Russian territory," Basurin said.

"Along with this, two groupings [of Kiev’s forces] are intended to launch an offensive in the Donetsk direction north and south of Donetsk towards Ilovaisk, close the circle around the republic’s capital and encircle the city," the spokesman said.

In the Luhansk direction, Kiev’s forces are planning to hold separate combat operations against the militia of the Luhansk People’s Republic to prevent their redeployment to provide support to the DPR, the spokesman said.

"Further on, active offensive operations will be launched in the Luhansk direction with the aim to advance to the border with Russia," Basurin said.

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