Ten people died and 13 more were injured as a bus was shelled in the eastern Donetsk region, Ukraine’s Interior Ministry said. Denis Pushilin, Donetsk People’s Republic representative at Minsk talks, said the attack may have been staged by Kiev.
The incident took place near a Ukrainian military checkpoint near the town of Volnovakha on Tuesday, the spokesman for the Interior Ministry in the Donetsk region, Vyacheslav Ambroskin, said. He posted the information on his Facebook page.
Meanwhile, the regional administration reported that 18 people had been injured.
Ambroskin said the checkpoint was shelled from the direction of the town of Dokuchaevsk, which is under the control of local militia forces. The town of Volnovakha is under Kiev’s control.
RT is reaching out to its sources to verify the incident and get the details.
The Defense Ministry of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic denied that local militia forces were involved in the attack.
There is a Ukrainian checkpoint near the town of Volhovanka but it is “out of range of the Donetsk militia’s artillery,” a representative of the Defense Ministry of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) told Interfax.
Denis Pushilin also told RT that the shelling occurred near Volnovakha at a Ukrainian army checkpoint that is "out of the operational range of the artillery of our militia."
“I don’t rule out the possibility that [the attack] could be the Ukrainian army’s provocation, to attempt to put the blame for what has happened on local militia,” Pushilin said.
Pushilin earlier Tuesday warned that the Ukrainian army could launch an offensive “any second” as troops have been massing near the border of the self-proclaimed republics.
He added that the National Guard battalion Sich, stationed in a Donetsk suburb, has been “provoking us with fire,” while the commander of the battalion said he refused to follow Kiev’s orders.
Following several weeks of calm there was hope that peace talks between Kiev and the eastern self-proclaimed republics were bearing fruit. However, after the winter holidays the conflict between local militia and Ukraine’s army stationed in the east has reignited, Donetsk officials say.
About 7,500 people were affected after a shell hit a gas pipeline in the Kievsky district of Donetsk on Monday.