Fire erupts after Donetsk rocket strike

A volley of rockets fired by the Ukrainian military has struck the Voroshilov neighborhood of Donetsk city, setting a residential high-rise ablaze and reportedly causing the deaths of at least three civilians. Rescue crews are at the scene, local authorities have reported.

They claim 20 ‘Grad’ rockets were fired at the heart of Donetsk, at 8pm local time on Friday. Several missiles impacted on Shkolnyy Boulevard, while another scored a direct hit on a high-rise on Vatutin Avenue.

Videos of the resulting conflagration are making rounds on social media, showing firefighters putting out a blaze in the ruins of what looks like a completely destroyed private residence. Mayor Aleksey Kulemzin later said the intense fire was the result of damage to a gas main.

Other videos show several cars on fire on Shkolnyy Boulevard.

Donetsk has been subjected to heavy artillery and missile attacks by Ukrainian forces on almost a daily basis since Russia launched its military operation in late February. Another rocket salvo earlier this week killed six people, including a 29-year-old member of the local council.

In addition to legacy Grad BM-21 multiple rocket launchers and 152mm tube artillery, Kiev’s forces have also targeted the city with the US-provided HIMARS systems and NATO 155mm howitzers.

Since 2014, when the Donbass conflict broke out in the aftermath of the Maidan coup in Kiev, the city has endured years of low-intensity fighting and sporadic shelling by the Ukrainian military.

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