Heavy shelling of Ukrainian city of Donetsk puts civilians at risk

Previous destruction in the city of Donetsk is shown in this file photograph from earlier this year.

Story highlights

  • Four civilians including 9-year-old girl died in shelling Saturday, Ukrainian Interior Ministry says
  • Rebels say 19 buildings destroyed, including a hospital
  • Ukraine military: 1 soldier killed in last 24 hours

Kiev, Ukraine (CNN)Violence in eastern Ukraine showed no signs of letting up Sunday as Ukrainian authorities reported death and destruction in the city of Donetsk.

The National Defense and Security Council of Ukraine said that separatists had concentrated heavy weaponry in three points around Donetsk: in the village of Spartak, at the now-destroyed Donetsk airport, and in the Kievskiy district of the city.
    The Council said the separatists used those places to launch heavy shelling "of both Ukrainian positions and residential areas."
    Four civilians -- including a 9-year-old girl -- died and four others were injured in Ukraine-controlled territory as a result of shelling Saturday, according to the Ukrainian Interior Ministry.
    The Ukrainian military said that one Ukrainian soldier had been killed and seven had been wounded in the last 24 hours. The military said the separatist shelling had destroyed at least four residential blocks.
    A photograph from earlier this year shows damage in the city of Donetsk.
    The separatist group, the self-described Donetsk People's Republic, said through its official information agency that 19 buildings had been damaged, including a hospital. One man was killed, the agency, known as DAN, reported.
    Earlier Saturday, another person died and three were injured in a massive fire in the central part of the city, DAN reported.
    On Sunday, Eduard Basurin, a spokesman for the Donetsk People's Republic, said the Republic had agreed to withdraw 100-millimeter weapons to locations 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) from the front line, DAN reported. Basurin was quoted as saying the decision was made because of the "unswerving desire and the will to establish peace in the Donbas."
    The Donbas is an industrial region in eastern Ukraine.
    Fighting in eastern Ukraine, which borders Russia, has raged off and on since protests forced President Viktor Yanukovych from power in February 2014. Yanukovych was tilting Ukraine's foreign policy toward Russia and away from the European Union.