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Ukraine Blames Separatists For Bombardment That Injures Eight Civilians


More than a dozen buildings were reportedly damaged in the shelling of the front-line town of Krasnohorivka in eastern Ukraine. (file photo)

KYIV -- Ukrainian authorities are blaming Russia-backed separatists for a hail of artillery fire that injured at least eight civilians, damaged buildings, and interrupted water supplies in the front-line town of Krasnohorivka over the weekend.

The incident underscored a warning last week by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which said that the rate of violence in the Ukraine conflict so far this year had more than doubled on a year earlier.

Central Krasnohorivka was hit by at least 12 Grad (Hail) rockets and other heavy artillery fired from territory controlled by separatists early on May 28, according to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry.

The ministry said as many as 14 buildings were damaged or destroyed, including apartment buildings and residential houses.

Donetsk Governor Pavlo Zhebrivskiy posted images on Facebook early on May 28 showing damaged brick buildings and suggesting a hospital and school had been struck.

More than 9,940 people have been killed since fighting broke out between central Ukrainian authorities and Russia-backed separatists in April 2014.

A shaky cease-fire brokered in Minsk regularly gives way to fighting, and the OSCE said at least 44 civilians had been killed and 175 more injured in the Ukrainian conflict zone between January 1 and May 24, before last weekend's violence.

Moscow and Kyiv have each blamed the other for failing to uphold their end of the 2-year-old truce.

Deputy foreign ministers from Germany, France, Ukraine, and Russia are scheduled to meet in Berlin on May 30 "to review the current situation on the ground with regard to the cease-fire and with regard to all other commitments under the Minsk agreements," according to a German government spokesman.

Germany and France brokered the Minsk deal and have held numerous meetings with representatives of Ukraine and Russia, part of a four-way process known as the Normandy Format,

The planned meeting comes a day after talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron at the Palace of Versailles on May 29.

The EU and United States have imposed sanctions on Russia over its actions in eastern Ukraine, where Kyiv and NATO say Moscow fomented unrest in 2014 and has given strong military backing to the separatists who hold parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces.

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