Horrific shelling in Donetsk takes civilian lives

Mortar attack by Russian terrorists in Donetsk, Ukraine

Mortar attack by Russian terrorists in Donetsk, Ukraine 

War in the Donbas

Article by: Kirill Mikhailov

In the morning of January 22, Russian state agency TASS reported at least 13 civilians killed in the shelling of an electric bus in Donetsk’s Leninskyi district, considerably far from the shifting frontline in the northwest.

OSCE observers dispatched to the site confirmed at least 7 civilian deaths in the shelling. Donetsk morgue representatives confirmed 8 deaths, while sources spoke of the number being as high as 18.

OSCE observers working on the scene, image taken from TASS article

Ukraine’s National Security Council blamed terrorists for the mortar strike, stating that the closest Ukrainian positions at Pisky were too far from the site of the tragedy to use this type of artillery. DNR officials were quick to blame Ukrainian saboteurs moving through the city in litter trucks and shelling civilian targets. A DNR source even claimed detaining several of the saboteurs some time after the event, yet, despite DNR’s norotiety for showing off Ukrainian prisoners to the media, no videos or photos of the alleged suspects have surfaced.

DNR leader Zakharchenko used this event for a humiliating parade of Ukrainian POWs taken at the airport during heavy fighting there in the previous days. The POWs were walked through the city to the site of the tragedy under terrorist guard, with local pro-Russians allowed to insult and even beat them.


Despite DNR claims of the bus being shelled from inside the city, Zakharchenko vowed to “push the frontline back” to stop the shelling. This remark came just a day after the Berlin talks where Russia and Ukraine agreed for an artillery pullback according to the Minsk agreement, which also provides for a demarcation line – a provision which Zakharchenko’s claim seems to directly violate. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov toed a similar line by blaming Kyiv for “disregard of human lives” in order to undermine the peace process. However, despite putting the blame on Ukraine right away, he still called for an independent investigation. Russia’s Investigation committee, meanwhile, launched their own probe into the tragedy, adding to a large list of “genocide” criminal cases of questionable jurisdiction against Ukrainian military and volunteers. One of those cases put the blame on Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko, long proven innocent by her Russian lawyers and almost 1.5 months on hunger strike in a Moscow jail. While Ukrainian prime minister Yatsenyuk has put the responsibility for the tragedy on Russia, at the time of writing of this article any official reports are yet to come. Independent investigations, however, have yielded some results. Mashable’s Christopher Miller took a picture of one of the impact  craters next to his iPhone’s compass, which led investigative blogger Eliot Higgins to believe the shell came from North-West.

Another blogger, @DajeyPetros, pointed out that this could only be a low-caliber 82-mm mortar shell, as it is considerably smaller than the 124-mm long iPhone 5. This casts doubt on another theory that the bus was hit by a Ukrainian 152-mm howitzer aiming for a terrorist tank repair shop nearby. Reporter Oliver Carroll was denied access to the repair factory to test the theory, yet he also suggested the impacts in the street looked more like mortar shells. The 82-mm mortar is known to have a range of 5 kilometers, which puts Ukrainian positions way beyond mortar reach.

This is probably why terrorists resorted to the theory of “Ukrainian saboteurs” on litter trucks. However, while Ukraine has never been proven to use such tactics, litter-truck mounted mortars were indeed used by DNR Cossacks as early as November, indicated by this video:

If indeed purposefully committed by DNR forces, this attack could be seen as a pretext for a renewed Russian offensive, of which National Security Council’s head Oleksandr Turchynov warned later the same day. Anyway, there is little hope of an objective investigation by either DNR or Russia’s investigation committee (which failed to open a criminal case on the previous bus massacre at Volnovakha).

Featured image (c) 62.ua

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  • Michel Cloarec

    The barbarians horde of zakharchenko khan military expertise at it best again.
    They were very quick after this event to stop all camera and video. Remember, that happened last summer already.
    Was on Euronews immediatly after it happened. also on French TV and newspapers.
    Again it happens at time when most people are moving .

  • Brent

    This attack is nothing more than the DPR’s attempt to counter their shelling of the bus at Volnovakha. We’ve seen this tactic so many times by these terrorists to mask their own criminal activity by false flag operations. After finally seizing the airport, the DPR will no longer be able to blame the Ukrainian army for their own shelling of the city of Donetsk

    Disgusting they’re killing the people “Putler” vowed to protect. The only thing more disgusting than the DPR doing this, is the inevitable ‘trolls’ who will try to muddy the waters and blame Ukraine.

    • Jacks Channel

      How true.

    • Michel Cloarec

      There is already a new troll ! victoria karp ,. you will meet her or him soon !
      Again they prove that they have behavioural sickness. Next it will be a school or kindergarden .. Natural escalation of terror ., and it will be people to support those actions. Typical post sovjet behaviour !

  • Jacks Channel

    Don’t talk to Putin, don’t talk to Lavrov, and don’t talk to the separatists. Donetsk is Ukrainian land. Putin is a piece of garbage. Time to take out the garbage.

    Long Live Ukraine!

    • sandy miller

      Jack…there is no doubt that Putler is behind all of what’s happening in east Ukraine. Articles in NYT blame Ukrainian military and I see no reponse from Ukrianian diplomats or anyone else to dispute the charges. Being so far away it’s so disheartening to watch those son-of-a-i—–s and not be able to do anything about the lies. Is the NYT getting their info from their reporters in Moscow???? If anyone knows please let me know.