MOSCOW, August 4 (RIA Novosti) — Kiev-led forces continue to re-deploy short-range ballistic missile systems and multiple-launch rocket systems to the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk in a move that could threaten the lives of hundreds of civilians, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Monday.
"The Ukrainian army continues to amass Tochka-U ballistic missile systems as well as Smerch and Uragan MLRS near Donetsk," the ministry said in a statement.
"How many more people are these systems going to kill?" the statement said.
A spokesman for the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic said earlier on Monday that at least 523 people have died and more than 3,000 have been injured in the region since the start of the Kiev-led military crackdown on independence supporters.
Independence supporters in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic said on Saturday that Ukrainian government troops are moving Tochka-U systems to Donetsk, after the DPR's militia commander Igor Strelkov said Tochka-U complexes had been delivered to Kramatorsk. Strelkov said Kiev was expected to attack disposal facilities in Donetsk and Luhansk that contain at least 150 tons of chlorine.
Last week, CNN reported citing US officials that the Ukrainian troops used short-range ballistic missiles in the country’s troubled east. With a range of about 50 miles and a warhead payload of up to 1,000 pounds, the missiles would be the most destructive weapons used in the conflict, which has lasted for over three months.
In mid-April, Kiev launched a military crackdown on independence supporters in eastern Ukraine. According to the latest UN report, the conflict has claimed the lives of more than 1,100 civilians since then, with nearly 3,500 injured.
Moscow has repeatedly condemned Kiev’s "war against it`s own people" and urged an immediate stop of the punitive operation, advocating for a peaceful resolution to the crisis.