This content is not available in your region

Ukraine: Shelling of rebel-held Donetsk takes toll on residents

Ukraine: Shelling of rebel-held Donetsk takes toll on residents
Text size Aa Aa

Loud explosions have echoed through the rebel stronghold of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine.

Fighting between pro-Russian militants and Ukrainian armed forces has come closer to the city centre than ever before, taking a toll on local residents.

“Why should our children suffer?” demanded one woman. “Why should our children live through this? Why should our homes be destroyed?”

Both sides claim they are not targeting non-combatants, but at least one civilian was killed when an apartment block was shelled.

The man, a street cleaner, was reportedly working outside the building when the assault took place.

It seems he suffered a direct hit.

Some 50 people took shelter from the bombardment in a nearby underground carpark, among them Skorikh Lubov Nikolayevna, the wife of the victim.

“I ran out,” she said. “An old woman said to me, ‘Look, there’s a man lying there.’ I didn’t even think it could be my husband. I looked at him and at first I couldn’t understand who he was. But then I saw the shoes… They were his shoes.

“Do you understand? His shoes. My God, I have lived with him for 45 years. He was such a great man. We cam from Slovyansk and were working in community service.”

UN figures state at least 1,129 people have been killed in the crisis-torn east of Ukraine since fighting began in mid-April.

The heavy fighting in the region has once again prevented Dutch and Australian experts from accessing the MH17 crash site.

Some of the victims of the downed plane have yet to be recovered from the area.