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Who Has Been Shelling East Ukraine Civilians?

The rundown of major recent instances of heavy civilian casualties due to artillery fire before the recent Mariupol attack

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This is an excerpt from an article that originally appeared at New Cold War.org

Transit bus in Donetsk shelled on Jan 22, 2015, 12 killed

Donetsk Tram

A mortar attack in the city of Donetsk on January 22 struck a transit bus, killing 13 people and injuring many more. According to defense officials of the Donetsk Peoples Republic, the attack was conducted by a terrorist cell of the Ukraine army. Several Ukraine army personnel were arrested after the attack.

It was the only one of a hailstorm of murderous attacks unleashed by the Ukraine army in a military offensive begun ten days ago. The offensive was months in preparation. According to the Kyiv Post on January 25, it is fast coming undone.

The attack in Donetsk took place in the Leninsky district of the city during the morning commute to work. Two mortars struck landed on a busy street, destroying the interior of the bus and shattered the windows of nearby buildings. Here is a detailed news report on RT.com, and here is a video of the aftermath of the attack:

And Here is a video report (sub-titled) on the attack, by Russian news service Life News.

Volnovakha Bus

This attack follows an earlier one on a bus near Volnovakha in Ukraine-controlled territory on January 13 that killed 12 people and injured 17. The Kyiv government instantly accused Donetsk self-defense forces and went on to use the attack as a public relations prop for launching its military offensive. The government staged rallies across Ukraine borrowing on “anti-terrorist” themes being used in France to condemn the killings in Paris at the offices of Charlie Hebdo on January 7.

The attack site at Volnovakha was beyond the range of weapons of self-defense forces, but that small detail was of no consequence for the propaganda drive that followed.

The driver of the Volnovakha bus was interviewed by the newspaper Korrespondent days later and he says that while there was rocket shelling along the road the bus was traveling (a video of multiple rocket shells landing was broadcast on the Internet), it was a fragmentation mine near a Ukraine army checkpoint that detonated and killed the passengers.


Shelling of Gorlovka

The city of Gorlovka has suffered very heavily from Ukraine shelling. A report by an anarchist activist in the city was published on the Ukrainian left website Liva.com on January 22. He reported,

The artillery shelling of Gorlovka lasts 14 hours. 840 minutes of fear. 50,400 seconds. During this time, Gorlovka is turned into a giant adrenaline-filled place. Hours of explosions, then – ten-minute breaks, the firing again.

The city is under a hail of GRAD rockets, cannons, mortars, machine-gun fire. There is the constant noise of gnashing, hissing, whistle, screeching. Damp basements are filled with children hugging with their tired parents. Tired and exhausted doctors and nurses are helping the wounded. Bus and taxi drivers who try to take passengers to bomb-shelters are under constant fire.

And all this is happening in a city with a total area exceeding Cologne, Seattle and Edinburgh – in a city with a population compared to Russian Novgorod, Brussels or Little Rock, USA. In a city with one of the largest chemical plants in Eastern Europe and one of the most interesting art museums in Eastern Ukraine. In a city where ordinary people live – like me.

Lugansk Region Shelling

Another horrific shelling took place against the town of Stakhanov in Luhansk region on January 21. Kristine Rus of Fort Russ website has translated a news report and provided video of that attack. Local people say ten people were killed and many more injured, including children.

Ukraine TV

A Ukrainian military official made an extraordinary admission of war crimes when talking about Ukrainian shelling to a Ukraine news source on or about January 19. Vladimir (Volodymyr) Ruban, is an officer who led negotiations for prisoner exchanges between the Donbas insurgency and the Ukrainian army, earning some grudging respect in that role.

But in the interview, he explains that the Ukrainian army has been shelling civilians in cities and towns in an effort to instill fear and submission. Artillery is quite a precise profession, he says. A professional does not miss a target. The very strong implication in his words is that the Ukrainian military is deliberately shelling civilians.

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