Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 25.02.2019
Russian occupation forces bombarded the settlements of Zolote and Novooleksandrivka in Luhansk region, Ukraine on Sunday. The attack was carried out by the 2nd Army Corps (so-called "Luhansk People's Republic") of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.
On February 24th, at about 5 o’clock in the morning, the Russian army invading Ukraine in Donbas carried out a targeted mortar shelling of civilians living in two peaceful villages. Zolote and Novooleksandrivka lie west of the Russian-occupied city of Luhansk and east of the city of Popasna which is in free Ukraine territory. The bombardment fell directly on the houses of Ukrainians. Frightened residents barely managed to take shelter from the explosions.
"My wife grabbed our three-year-old daughter and we wanted to run, but the next explosion knocked out the door and we fell," said Zolote resident Dmytro. “Because of our experience, my daughter stopped talking. What do we do? I don’t know.” This was reported by the press service of the Joint Forces Operation of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
In total, the Russians fired 34 shells from 122 millimetre calibre artillery as well as 120 millimetre calibre mortars. This heavy artillery was supposed to be withdrawn away from the battlefront and there is supposed to be a ceasefire. The Russian Federation thus violated two principle terms of the Minsk Agreements and its armed forces committed a war crime by targeting non-combatants.
Ukrainian military officers serving with the Joint Centre for Control and Coordination (JCCC) are investigating the sites of more war crimes by the Russian occupation forces. The JCCC monitors violations of the Minsk Agreement ceasefire, which since February 2015 have been committed overwhelmingly by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. The Russians withdrew from the JCCC in December 2017.
The Russian Federation has been at war with Ukraine for over five years, having begun its invasion in Crimea on 20 February 2014.