Russia condemns EU as fighting continues in Ukraine

2015-01-22 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) Moscow has condemned the European Union's decision to keep sanctions against Russia in place over its role in Ukraine, where at least six civilians died in increased fighting between government forces and pro-Russian forces. 

Desperate residents are in the crossfire of rapidly escalating clashes around the rebel-held city of Donetsk. Several people have been killed Monday and Tuesday, while hospitals are  struggling to cope with dozens of injured people.  

 Listen to our report by correspondent Stefan Bos:

 

“After the second explosion we went out on the streets, we heard people crying and yelling, we saw that one person was injured and a woman’s husband was killed,” said Alena Fishenko, wiping away a tear as she watches the damage around her neighbourhood.

Reporters have seen the bodies of two people killed while waiting for a bus in this troubled city.

TROOPS, WEAPONS

The pro-Russian rebels say shelling has intensified as pro-Kiev forces are starting to concentrate large numbers of troops and weapons around the city, where a battle for control over the Donetsk airport is ongoing. 

“Everyone in the city heard loud explosions, they were felt in every district, it was all happening around the airport," said Eduard Basurin, the Deputy Defence Minister for the self-declared 'Donetsk People’s Republic'. "The Ukrainian armed forces have trained all their weapons on the airport,” he added 

Russia said Tuesday that Kiev is trying to solve the crisis in eastern Ukraine through military force and that this could lead to "irreversible consequences for Ukrainian statehood"

Ukrainian officials claim Russia is responsible as it send fresh troops to support pro-Russian rebels, charges Moscow denies. 

RED CROSS CONCERNED 

Amid the clashes, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has expressed deep concern over the escalation of violence and said fighting in and around was killing civilians, "preventing" its team from carrying out its humanitarian work.

Spokesman Michael Bociurkiw of Europe's security organization OSCE has urged all sides to show restraint. "Innocent civilians are getting caught up in the conflict," said Bociurkiw, whose organization has monitors on the ground. 

"So it's time for all sides to exercise maximum restraint. And also to withdraw heavy weaponry and that weapons need to stop firing," the spokesman added. 

The OSCE says more than 4,800 people have died, and over 10,000 injured in the conflict, which also impacted five million people. 

(from Vatican Radio)