“Most massive strike” on Donetsk since 2014, says Russia-installed mayor

Ukrainian forces carried out the biggest attack on the occupied Donetsk region of the country since 2014 on Thursday, according to a Russian-installed official.

Donetsk has been held by Russian-backed separatists since 2014 and it is one of four Ukrainian regions that Moscow attempted to annex in October, in violation of international law.

Heavy fighting in the region in recent months has caused extensive destruction, especially around the city of Bakhmut.

“At exactly 7 a.m. the [Ukrainians] subjected the center of Donetsk to the most massive strike since 2014,” Moscow-appointed mayor, Aleksey Kulemzin, posted on Telegram.
“Forty rockets from BM-21 ‘Grad’ MLRS were fired at civilians in our city,” he said, adding that a key intersection in Donetsk city center had come under fire.

Kulemzin shared photographs on Telegram of damage to residential and commercial buildings and a cathedral.

There have been no immediate reports of casualties, according to Russian state media.

CNN cannot independently confirm Kulemzin’s claims.

The war in Ukraine ramped up in the southern and eastern regions of the country, as Russia unleashed fresh assaults on Kherson overnight.

The city was hit 86 times in the past 24 hours and three people were killed in shelling on Wednesday, according to the regional head of the Kherson military administration, Yaroslav Yanushevych.

On Thursday, the Kremlin appeared to rebuff Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s peace solution that involved asking Russia to start withdrawing troops from Ukraine this Christmas.

This takes place against the backdrop of a harsh winter season in Ukraine inflamed by sweeping power outages caused by Russian strikes and a grinding battle of attrition.

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