The Ukrainian military shelled residential areas of Donetsk late on Saturday, heavily damaging or completely destroying multiple houses. According to preliminary information, Kiev’s forces used various rocket artillery in the attack, including US-supplied HIMARS systems, the city’s mayor Alexey Kulemzin said.
Footage from the scene shows several houses destroyed during the late-evening attack. So far, no information on potential casualties among civilians has emerged.
Apart from a M142 HIMARS launcher, which fired at least six projectiles at the city, the Ukrainian military used a Soviet-made BM-21 Grad launcher, with some 20 rockets hitting in the city’s north, Kulemzin said on social media.
The city of Donetsk has been subjected to artillery and missile attacks by the forces of Kiev on an almost daily basis amid the ongoing conflict. While rarely commenting on such activities, Kiev blamed Russian forces, which are in control of the city, for having shelled it themselves.
Donetsk, the capital city of its namesake republic, has recently joined Russia along with three other formerly Ukrainian territories following referendums held in late September. Kiev, as well as its Western backers, have rejected the referendums as “sham” polls, refusing to recognize their outcome.
Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”
In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists that the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.