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Strike on Market Kills 27 in Russian-Held Donetsk


Updated with death toll.

A strike on a crowded market in the Russian-occupied city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine left at least 27 people dead and dozens more wounded on Sunday, Moscow-backed officials said.

Both Moscow and Kyiv have accused each other of a sharp escalation in attacks on civilian areas in the past two months.

Shattered storefronts and broken glass could be seen in videos shared by Russian state media, along with what appeared to be bodies lying on the ground nearby.

"Twenty-seven civilians were killed and another 25 people were injured of varying severity, among them two teenagers," said Denis Pushilin, head of the region's Russian-controlled administration.

He blamed Ukraine for the strike, calling it a "horrific" attack on a civilian area.

Ukraine did not immediately comment, and AFP was not able to immediately verify the circumstances of the attack.

Officials said the strike hit a southwestern suburb of the city, less than 15 kilometers from the eastern front.

The toll marks one of the deadliest in Donetsk since Moscow launched full-scale hostilities against Ukraine in February 2022. Donetsk, occupied by Russia and its proxy forces since 2014, has been repeatedly targeted by what Moscow has called indiscriminate Ukrainian shelling.

Moscow called Sunday's attack a "barbaric terrorist attack" that showed the need for its "special military operation" in Ukraine.

"Security threats and acts of terrorism should not be committed from the territory of Ukraine," its foreign ministry said.

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