Five civilians killed, 12 wounded in DPR
As the West pumps more arms into Ukraine, Kiev is upping the frequency of its attacks on the Donbass republics, as Russia had previously warned.
Five civilians were killed and 12 injured in a heavy Ukrainian bombardment launched on the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), local authorities reported on Saturday.
"As a result of the bombardment by Ukrainian forces, five people were killed and 12 others were wounded in the Donetsk People's Republic," the local authorities said in a statement.
The bombardment targeted the capital of the DPR, Donetsk, and it comes after the Ukrainian forces failed to take control of it amid heavy fighting between the DPR forces and Kiev's.
"From this morning, massive enemy bombardments are targeting the capital of the republic," Donetsk said in a statement, adding that more than 200 artillery shells of 155 mm caliber fell on several districts of Donetsk on Saturday.
Russian news outlets reported that the shelling targeted civilian facilities, including a cinema and a cafe in the city center.
The city of Donetsk has been subject to a series of attacks waged by Kiev, with one launched on Monday, killing three people, including a woman and child, and wounding 13.
In some cases, shells of NATO's 155 mm caliber were used in addition to the MLRS, including French shells, likely used with the CAESAR Self-propelled guns.
According to the Donetsk People’s Republic’s (DPR) mission to the Joint Center for Control and Coordination on the ceasefire regime (JCCC), Ukrainian troops pounded Donetsk with BM-21 "Grad" rockets in the early hours of Monday.
Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia has said last week that the long-range artillery and rockets delivered by the United States and the United Kingdom to Ukraine have emboldened Kiev to up its strikes on civilian targets and residential areas in the Donbass republics.
"Leaving aside the entirely unconvincing explanations of such an irresponsible step (the West sending the long-range systems to Ukraine), I would like to point out that the Kiev regime has already taken this as carte blanche to continue and intensify the shelling of civilian targets in Donbas, where after a number of recent defeats, the Ukrainian artillery was no longer able to reach," Nebenzia told the UNSC meeting.
The Pentagon had decided to provide High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) to Ukraine due to the nature of the conflict changing to an "artillery duel", Under-Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl told a press briefing just days earlier.
US President Biden had stated on Monday that Washington would not provide Kiev with weapons capable of targeting Russian territory.
The HIMARSs were the centerpiece of a $700 million package unveiled last week, which includes "Javelin anti-tank missiles, Stinger antiaircraft missiles, powerful artillery and precision rocket systems, radars, unmanned aerial vehicles, Mi-17 helicopters, and ammunition," President Biden said.
In addition to the US package, which raised the total of supplies from Washington to Kiev to more than $5 billion since Biden took office last year, the United Kingdom said it was giving the Eastern European country with US-made long-range M270 multiple launch rocket systems.