Ukrainian strike on Donetsk market kills 25 people, says Russia

Locals at the scene following the shelling of the food market in Donetsk
Locals at the scene following the shelling of the food market in Donetsk - ALESSANDRO GUERRA/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock/Shutterstock

A strike on a crowded market in the Russian-occupied city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine has killed at least 25 people, according to Moscow-backed officials.

Shattered shop fronts and bodies lying in the snow could be seen in videos posted on Telegram.

Denis Pushilin, the Kremlin-appointed head of the occupied region of Donestsk, said Ukrainian artillery shells hit the market on Sunday morning and that 20 people had also been wounded.

“Information continues to be received about the consequences of the monstrous shelling of a busy market,” he said.

Ukrainian officials did not immediately comment, and The Telegraph was not able to verify the nature of the attack.

Donetsk resident Tatiana said she heard an incoming projectile overhead, and hid under her market stall.

“I saw smoke, people screamed, a woman was crying,” she told a local media outlet.

The aftermath of the shelling of the food market in Donetsk
The aftermath of the shelling of the food market in Donetsk - ALESSANDRO GUERRA/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock/Shutterstock

“Where is there anything military here? It’s just a market,” another resident named Tatiana told the same outlet. “This is one of the strongest blows in recent times,” she said.

Moscow called it a “barbaric terrorist attack” that showed the need for its “special military operation” in Ukraine.

The toll marks one of the deadliest attacks on the city since the outbreak of war in 2022. Moscow uses Donetsk as a logistics centre and staging post for its forces fighting on nearby frontlines.  Over the weekend, the Russian army claimed to have captured two small villages as it continues to go on the offensive.

Pro-Russian officials regularly claim attacks by Ukrainian forces. Earlier in January, officials in the Russian city of Belgorod near the border with Ukraine said a Ukrainian missile strike killed 25 people, mainly women and children shopping ahead of the Orthodox Christmas. This was denied by Ukrainian officials.

Ukraine appears to have intensified attacks on Russian targets, although Ukrainian commanders have always denied targeting civilians.

Also on Sunday, Russian officials said at least two Ukrainian drones had hit a gas field in the port of Ust-Luga on the Gulf of Finland, causing a massive explosion.

Novatek, the operator of the gas field, said the fire was caused by an “external factor” and had resulted in no injuries.

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