Donetsk shelled as Kiev ‘orders massive fire’ on militia-held E. Ukraine

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A man removes debris inside his house, which according to locals was recently damaged by shelling, in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine January 17, 2015 (Reuters / Alexander Ermochenko)

Violence escalated in eastern Ukraine as Kiev’s troops launched a massive assault on militia-held areas Sunday morning. The army was ordered to start massive shelling of all rebel positions, a presidential aide said.

The order to launch the offensive was issued early approximately at 6:00 am, according to Yury Biryukov, an aide to President Petro Poroshenko.

“Today we will show HOW good we are at jabbing in the teeth,” he wrote on his Facebook page, a mode of conveying information favored by many Ukrainian officials.

In a later post he said: “They are now striking a dot. Uuu…” in a reference to Tochka-U (‘tochka’ means ‘dot’ in Russian), a tactical ballistic missile, one of the most powerful weapons Ukraine so far deployed against rebel forces.

“That wasn’t a dot but ellipsis. Strong booms,” he added.

Reports from the ground confirmed a sharp escalation of clashes across the front line, with particularly heavy artillery fire reported at Gorlovka.

“Locals in Donetsk said they haven’t heard such intensive shelling since summer,” Valentin Motuzenko, a military official in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, told Interfax news agency.

“The Ukrainian military are using all kinds of weapons, Grad multiple rocket launchers, mortars…” Motuzenko said.

A source at the site told RT that a group of OSCE monitors have demanded that the Ukrainian military stop the shelling. The source added that there is a danger that the group may itself come under artillery fire.

By RT News
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