KABUL: (Middle East Press) Heavy fighting in eastern Ukraine has caused huge civilian casualties right after peace talks canceled.
Five people were killed on Friday, in Ukraine’s volatile eastern region of Donetsk by artillery fire as they were queuing up outside a cultural center to receive humanitarian aid, and a sixth person was killed about a kilometer away after a trolley bus was hit, Reuters reports.
According to pro-Russia forces in the region, a total of seven people were killed during the two-strikes which they blamed on Ukrainian forces.
Ukrainian government troops said the shelling was carried out by the pro-Russians to disrupt the peace talks.
Peace talks between Ukraine and pro-Russia forces in the Belarusian capital city of Minsk were cancelled following Kiev’s refusal to attend the talks on Friday.
“The Foreign Ministry of Belarus confirmed today that Kiev (representatives) won’t come. The talks have been cancelled,” pro-Russians’ representative, Denis Pushilin, told reporters in the Belarusian capital.
The two mainly Russian-speaking regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine have been the scene of deadly clashes between pro-Russia forces and the Ukrainian army since Kiev’s military operation started in April 2014, in a bid to crush the protests.