Death toll rises to 34 in Russian attack on apartment in Donetsk, Ukraine

Death toll rises to 34 in Russian attack on apartment in Donetsk, Ukraine
Credit: Pavlo Kyrylenko Twitter

Russia has fired a missile on an apartment block in eastern Ukraine and the death toll has reached 34, according to a Donetsk regional official. One of the dead was a nine-year-old child.

"Already 34 dead and 9 wounded have been retrieved by rescuers from the rubble of a multi-story building in the city of Chasiv Yar. One child was among the dead," said Pavlo Kyrylenko, the Head of the Donetsk regional state administration.

Ukrainian emergency services had cleared about 70% of the debris, with an ongoing rescue operation, according to Kyrylenko.

"The Russians will bear responsibility for every destroyed and mutilated life!" he added.

80% of the Ukrainian population of the Donetsk region have fled, according to Kyrelenko. But around around 340,000 people, or 20% of the local population before Russia's full-scale invasion began on Feb. 24, still remain in the oblast.

Gruesome tactics

Professor of international politics David Criekemans (UAntwerp) is not surprised by the ruthless Russian bombardments.

"Russia has been using this horrible technique of war since the nineties. It does not care about the law of war or humanitarian law.

Look at the enormous devastation wrought by Russian troops in the rebellious Russian republic of Chechnya or the devastating Russian bombing of Syria," Criekemans said in Het Belang van Limburg.

Guerilla warfare

According to Criekemans, Russian military leadership are drawn to this type of warfare due to lacking knowledge of the country, lack of modern material and precision bombs to fight successfully any other way.In addition, its generals at the helm  also acted this way in Chechnya and Syria.

It is a brutal way to make the local population flee. But by destabilising the entire region, it avoids life-threatening guerilla warfare with the Ukrainian army, said Criekemans.

Only rubble remains to such an extent that even the Russian-speaking population is moving away.

"It seems to me that Russia's primary aim with this war is to create a new security buffer with the West, rather than annex cities and industry," said Criekemans.

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"Nor should we forget that this region is rich in raw materials, regardless of the Russian bombing."

Next steps

Despite the wealth of raw materials in the east, Ukraine may choose to focus its efforts in the south, rather than the east because losing access to the Black Sea because to lose this important hub could cripple its economy for years to come.

Kremlin officials have used the term 'Novorossyia' (New Russia) to describe the regions of eastern and southern Ukraine that it is trying to conquer since 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly claimed that the entire area is 'ancient Russian land', according to Atlantic Council.

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