Deadly fighting plagues eastern Ukraine city - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Deadly fighting plagues eastern Ukraine city

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Children play near a giant crater left by military shelling of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine. (Source: CBS) Children play near a giant crater left by military shelling of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine. (Source: CBS)

DONETSK, UKRAINE (CBS) - Airstrikes and artillery fire between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian troops in the eastern city of Donetsk have brought the violence closer than ever to the city center as Kiev's forces move in on the rebel stronghold.

In the Kalininsky neighborhood only three miles east of Donetsk's central square, rebels and civilians were on Wednesday assessing the damage after a night of what many felt were Ukrainian airstrikes.

"There were two strikes by airplanes. This is the first strike. The second one is on the other side," said Sergei Ryaboshenko, a security guard at one of the garages that got struck overnight.

There were eight craters at the scene that appeared to be the result of aerial bombing.

A bomb disposal squad was seen at the scene on Wednesday recovering the remains of the artillery from the ground.

Local residents were also seen going through the rubble and debris trying to recover what was left of their stores.

A pro-Russian rebel who identified himself as Casper showed an Associated Press reporter an ambulance he said he used to transport wounded rebels to hospitals as the city's emergency services often refused to go to rebel-held areas.

In Kiev, Ukrainian security spokesman Andriy Lysenko categorically denied that Ukrainian airplanes carried out airstrikes on Donetsk.

"I am saying this again - our planes are not bombing cities," Lysenko told a news conference gathering on Wednesday.

They government has offered little evidence to prove its claims which Human Rights Watch and others have questioned.

Lysenko questioned the claims asking for evidence to prove the army had shelled Donetsk.

With Ukrainian troops encircling Donetsk, Western leaders have accused Russia of building up forces along the border in what some fear may preface an intervention.

Russia has repeatedly denied having such intentions and rejected Ukrainian and Western claims of a military buildup on the border.

As the Ukrainian military intensified its campaign against the rebels, heavily populated areas have increasingly come under attack.

The Donetsk city administration said in a statement published online  that three people had been killed in shelling overnight.

In a western district of Donetsk, rockets apparently fired from a government position landed in the courtyard of a one-story house, killing an elderly resident on Tuesday afternoon and destroying several shops and buildings in the area.

Donetsk did not see much fighting other than a rebel attempt in May to seize the airport.

But the city has come under more shelling in recent weeks, and local authorities estimate that around 200,000 people in the city of 1 million have left their homes.

Rubble could be seen on the streets and on tops of cars. Locals worked on a crater in the street and children played near the giant hole. Shell remains also could be seen, and shop owners dug through the debris.

Pro-Russian rebels surveyed the damage.

Copyright 2014 CBS. All rights reserved.

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