Moscow, Jan 30 (IANS/EFE) At least 15 civilians were killed in the city of Donetsk by Ukrainian artillery bombardments, five of them killed in a new attack on a trolleybus, pro-Russian separatists charged Friday.
“Five people died in the trolleybus,” said the ministry of defence of the self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Donetsk, adding that the vehicle was servicing public transport line 14 but was not in motion at the time it was shelled.
Five more people died when they were bombed while lining up at the House of Culture in the Kuibuishev district to receive humanitarian aid. The other five civilian casualties were reported in the Azotni neighbourhood of Donetsk, the ministry said.
It said the artillery assault on Donetsk was conducted from the village of Opuitnoe, a neutral zone located north of the airport.
Last week, another trolley bus was hit by artillery fire, also in Donetsk, killing eight people.
In addition to the 15 civilians killed Friday, five Ukrainian soldiers also died over the past 24 hours in eastern Ukraine, according to the spokesman for the Ukrainian Armed Forces General Staff, Vladislav Seleznev.
During the fighting, Ukraine lost five soldiers, and 23 others were injured and rushed to hospital, Seleznev added.
The situation in eastern Ukraine has deteriorated in recent weeks in the area of conflict between the pro-Russian rebels and the Ukrainian army.
Representatives of the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian separatists were supposed to to have resumed ceasefire negotiations Friday in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, with the mediation of Russia and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
While representatives of the rebels were said to be already in Minsk, the Ukrainian foreign ministry said negotiations might not take place until Friday or Saturday.
Since its outbreak in April of last year, the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine has claimed more than 5,000 lives and caused the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people.