VIENNA, August 24 (RIA Novosti) - The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) on Sunday released a special report on civilian fatalities and damage following shelling of a residential area in the north of Donetsk on August 23.
“At the scene, the SMM saw a five-floor apartment block with the ground in front of it littered with debris. Some sixty civilians, mainly elderly and in shock, were standing in the vicinity. Close to a footpath leading to one of the entrances, the SMM observed three bodies covered with blankets, judged by SMM to be two adults and a child, in close proximity to each other. Local residents told the SMM that the three were a mother, father and their child. They said that another child, five years old and the fourth family member, died on the way to the hospital, as a result of head injuries,” the report said.
The entire building was seriously damaged, with a third floor apartment being wholly destroyed, according to the monitors. The upper fourth and lower second floors also sustained serious damage.
Two hundred meters (656 feet) south of the building, the mission observed a garage and a kindergarten damaged by “what appeared to have been shelling.”
“The SMM saw a kindergarten, with the window panes of its second floor shattered and children’s toys scattered around,” the report said.
Around 150 meters south of the kindergarten, the monitors saw a residential three-floor building with part of its roof destroyed by what also appeared to be shelling.
“Local residents provided the SMM with what they believed to be pieces of artillery shells,” according to the report.
Representatives of the Ministry for Emergency Situations of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, who had been present at the scene during the mission’s observation, stated that a nearby food market had also been damaged.
“At the site, located in a gated area and covered with a tin roof, the SMM observed that the main window panes of the market were shattered, and noted a two-metre diameter hole in the tin roof and four areas of explosive impacts on the ground, consistent with shelling. The SMM observed that the perforation on the tin roof was bent inwardly, with a slant of a 45 degree angle, suggesting that the impacts had come from an easterly direction. Some vendors were present in the market, collecting the remains of their food products. They told the SMM that they believed the shelling could have come from the direction of the town of Makiievka (15.7km east of Donetsk city centre),” the report said.
Since mid-April, Kiev authorities have been conducting a special military operation in the east of Ukraine to crack down on independence supporters that refuse to recognize the legitimacy of the new government. Over 2,000 people have been killed and more than 5,000 injured since the start of Kiev’s offensive, according to the United Nations.