Ukrainian Shelling Hits Donetsk Market, Suspected Drone Attack Ignites Fire at Russian Port

 Ukrainian Shelling Hits Donetsk Market, Suspected Drone Attack Ignites Fire at Russian Port

KYIV, Ukraine- On Sunday, Moscow-installed officials claimed that Ukrainian shelling resulted in the tragic death of at least 27 people and left 25 wounded at a market on the outskirts of Donetsk, a city in eastern Ukraine under Russian occupation. Among the injured were two children, according to Denis Pushilin, the local leader.

The suburb of Tekstilshchik was reportedly hit by artillery shells fired from the area of Kurakhove and Krasnohorivka to the west, as stated by Pushilin. The claims have not been independently verified by The Associated Press, and Ukrainian officials in Kyiv have not commented on the incident.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned the attack on civilians and civilian infrastructure, emphasizing that such actions are prohibited under international humanitarian law.

Donetsk, which was annexed by Russia in 2022, has been a focal point of the ongoing conflict that erupted nearly two years ago. The situation on the 1,500-kilometer front line has seen little change, with both sides resorting to longer-range attacks in the winter months.

In a separate incident, a fire broke out at a chemical transport terminal at Russia's Ust-Luga port after two explosions, with local officials attributing the incident to Ukrainian drones. The port, located southwest of St. Petersburg, is crucial for shipping oil and gas products internationally. Russian energy company Novatek confirmed the fire forced the suspension of some operations at the terminal.

Recent weeks have witnessed a surge in Russian attacks utilizing missiles and drones, aiming to exploit gaps in Ukraine's defenses. Over 500 drones and missiles were reportedly fired between December 29 and January 2, depleting Ukraine's weapons stockpiles.

In a related development, Ukraine's security services are suspected to have conducted a special operation resulting in a fire at the Ust-Luga terminal. While the specifics of the disruption and its impact on international energy markets remain unclear, this incident, along with the alleged Ukrainian artillery strike in Donetsk, could escalate tensions in the ongoing conflict. The Leningrad region, where the terminal is located, has heightened security measures, with authorities on high alert for potential drone threats.

The situation underscores the complex dynamics of the Russia-Ukraine war, with both sides targeting critical infrastructure in an attempt to gain strategic advantages. As the conflict persists, questions arise about the effectiveness of air defense systems around key facilities and the potential for wider retaliation.

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