The Ukrainian government has been directing heavy artillery bombardments against civilians in the major cities of east Ukraine held by pro-Russian forces, damaging residential areas, hospitals and Russian Orthodox churches and killing and wounding dozens of civilians.
It is estimated that 400,000 people have fled the city of Donetsk since the onset of hostilities.
Donetsk city council spokesman Maxim Rovinsky reported that shelling Sunday night and into Monday resulted in the damage of at least 10 homes, shops, and garages in city. Rovinsky said that as of Monday 20,000 residents were without electricity.
Artillery rockets hit a high security prison, resulting in the death of one prisoner and the wounding of three others. The attack knocked out power to the prison, causing a riot and leading to the escape of 106 prisoners.
In the besieged city of Luhansk, an estimated 250,000 people are without access to water, electricity or phone service. The fear of artillery bombardment has halted the delivery of food, medical supplies, fuel and water to the city.
“We used to have food and water. But now Kiev has completely destroyed our city. There’s no water and electricity now, there’s nothing,” Luhansk resident Lidia Ostroverkhova told Russia Today. Last Thursday, OSCE monitors reported shelling by the Ukrainian military of Vishnevsky hospital as well as two nearby high-rises in the center of Donetsk. Shrapnel from the artillery attack, which destroyed the second floor of the hospital’s dental unit, killed a 38-year-old man and wounded another person who was outside the building.
The hospital was shelled again on Sunday, shattering windows and damaging walls in the maternity ward. Expectant mothers had been evacuated to a basement shelter the night before, so as to avoid possible casualties from the irregular shelling.
Yekaterina Petrovna, the mother of a young woman who had just given birth, angrily denounced the conditions,: “I can’t believe we have got to this point: giving birth in a cellar. Why should we experience this? Waiting for our deaths? No one hears us.”
Shelling on Thursday by Ukrainian forces in Luhansk damaged a Russian Orthodox church and resulted in the death of five members of the same family after the basement they were sheltering in was hit by a mortar.
An artillery attack by government forces in Horlivka resulted in an inferno that completely destroyed the Russian Orthodox Blagoveshchensky Cathedral.