charges of intensified fighting was exchanged between Russian-backed separatists on Thursday in east of Luhansk and the Ukrainian authorities, following the United States warning that Moscow is looking for for a pretext to invade.
Ukraine has been in conflict with rebels in ballast of the country since 2014, in a war that has cost thousands of lives, but the latest reports have intensified fears of Russian interference.
Ukrainian military command center in the East alleged that Russian-backed forces “with special cynicism” had fired heavy artillery on the village of Stanytsia Luhanska.
“Shells hit kindergarten,” he said.
“According to preliminary data, two civilians were injured. Public infrastructure was also damaged. Half of the settlement was left without electricity.”
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba reported no injuries but condemned the alleged shelling.
“We call on all partners to quickly condemn this serious violation of Minsk agreements by Russia in a context already tense security situation,” he said, referring to a international agreement supposed to stop the war.
Photographs on the command center’s Facebook account showed civilians taking shelter in a cellar, a nursery games room with strewn rubble on the floor and a shell hole in the wall.
Separately, Russian news agencies have reported that the separatists force in Luhansk claimed Ukraine had escalated the fighting.
“Above past 24 hoursthe situation on line of contact has intensified considerably”, Yan Leshchenko, head of people’s militia in the self-proclaimed republic of Luhansk, told reporters.
“The enemy, on direct orders of the Kyiv military-political leaders are trying to escalate the conflict.”
In Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov described the allegation of a Ukrainian escalation as “worrying”.
“It’s an affair of very serious concern,” he said.
“We hope that our opponents Western capitals, Washington, NATO, use all their influence to warn the Kiev authorities against new escalation.”
Ukraine and its Western allies say Russia has unleashed huge potential invasion force on the borders of Ukraine, and the services secrets Americans accused Moscow of seeking to create a pretext by simulating an atrocity.
NATO says more more than 100,000 Russian soldiers are on the border, but Moscow insists it is seeking a diplomatic route to resolve their security concerns and son role back western influence in Eastern Europe.