Numerous civilians are reported dead and wounded Friday from heavy fighting in eastern Ukraine, as aid workers warn that the situation is growing increasingly dire for non-combatants—especially children—following the disintegration of a ceasefire between Ukraine and opponents of Kiev earlier this month.
In one incident on Friday, a bomb hit a cultural center in Donetsk, killing five people waiting in line for humanitarian aid, The Independent reports. Another shelling struck a bus shelter in the same city, killing two more people.
According to The Independent, "The self-titled Donetsk People’s Republic, which has administered the city since April, blamed the government for killing civilians with indiscriminate shelling, while Kiev officials accused the separatists of firing on their own stronghold to ruin the chance of peace talks."
However, the U.S.-backed Kiev government, and pro-government militias, were linked to previous indiscriminate bombings against heavily populated areas in and near Donetsk, killing civilians, as documented by Human Rights Watch.
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In an article published earlier this week, Emilie Rouvroy, Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) coordinator for Luhansk, in eastern Ukraine, described growing trauma and desperation as homes and medical institutions are destroyed in shelling and medical supplies run low.
"There are many terrible things about this conflict, but one of the hardest things is that people feel abandoned," Rouvroy wrote. "They’re grateful that we’re here, but wherever we go they ask us: 'Where is everybody? Where are the journalists? Where is the international community?' People are dying here every day."
Furthermore, UNICEF warns that "continuous fighting is having a devastating impact on the lives of children." As of early December, 42 children have died in the conflict, and the number of displaced people has surpassed half a million, over 130,000 of them children.
According to the global body, 5.2 million people are affected by ongoing violence, including 1.7 million children, and 1.4 people are in immediate need of aid.