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Slavyansk under fire, without water and power as Kiev troops resume shelling

Published time: June 08, 2014 14:06
Edited time: September 06, 2014 14:54

Residents of Slavyansk during a heavy artillery shelling of their city on June 8, 2014. (RIA Novosti / Andrey Stenin)

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Death and destruction is reported in eastern Ukraine as Kiev’s artillery has resumed shelling the rebellious city of Slavyansk. Locals tell RT they have been without running water and power for days, and that hope is fading.

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“The shells broke just near the central square. They hit residential houses, a furniture factory, a cafe and communications post,” an unnamed representative of the local city council told Itar-Tass. “There are victims among the civilians and some people received shrapnel wounds.”

“At this time there were many people in the center because of the Pentecost Mass in the nearby church has just ended,” the source added.

Four people were killed in the result of the shelling, a small girl among them. Seven people were taken to hospital with injuries, RT's correspondent Andrey Krasnoschyokov reports from the scene.

Residents of Slavyansk take shelter in the basement of their house during a heavy artillery shelling of their city on June 8, 2014. (RIA Novosti / Andrey Stenin)

A little girl, thought to be 4 years old, is among dead. According to Krasnoschyokov, she died in a fire at a local leisure center.

“A shell felt nearby and set the building on fire. It is not clear if the girl was inside or outside. I arrived at the scene when firefighters were putting out the fire and one of the self-defense told me he carried out the body of this girl. He said she was four, but this could be his assumption,” Krasnoschyokov said.

Kiev’s artillery also has hit a gas pipe in the city, but there was no explosion threat, the city council told RIA Novosti. Another shell struck a petrol station outside Slavyansk, and a blast and fire followed.

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The city survives without tap water, electricity and communications

Slavyansk residents say their spirits are getting lower, as the city is completely surrounded by Kiev’s armed forces and there is constant shooting and shelling while evacuation is hindered.

“Slavyansk has been attacked by massive shelling overnight,” a local resident told RT, adding that the shelling never stops.

As the man was speaking to RT in the morning, he saw massive columns of smoke coming from the city outskirts. The sounds of shelling were heard distinctly over the phone.

The city is preparing to survive without drinking water and electricity.

“Residents are living a third day without water, some people even the fifth… Half [of the city population] doesn’t have electricity,” the man said.

As shops ran out of drinking water supplies too, Twitter images showed that residents had started scooping the remaining water out of fountains.

According to RT’s witness, those water and electricity lines that have been broken are located in the “war zones,” where most of the fighting takes place, that’s why it is almost impossible to repair them.

“There is an impression that [Kiev forces] are striking in the vicinity of high-voltage lines to disrupt them and leave the city without water and electricity,” he added.

‘Slavyansk is a total nightmare’

Slavyansk residents are leaving the besieged city with shells whistling above their heads, local driver Vladimir, who evacuates at least 10 residents a day, told RT.

“This is a total nightmare what is happening in Slavyansk. They [Kiev troops] only let women and children leave the city – they are forced to walk through the checkpoints,” Vladimir says. “Men are not allowed to leave or enter the city.”

Vladimir, who literally drives though never-ending gunfire, says Slavyansk residents are mostly seeking refuge in Crimea or in nearby regions.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s National Guard has begun artillery fire in the outskirts of Slavyansk, according to a video released on YouTube. The footage shows a huge amount of smoke coming from the hill on the outskirts.

Kiev authorities have recently intensified what Kiev calls an “anti-terrorist” operation with a massive artillery attack on Slavyansk. The plan was to conduct a “clean-up” of Donetsk and Lugansk regions ahead of the presidential inauguration held on June 7.

Residents of Slavyansk during a heavy artillery shelling of their city on June 7, 2014. (RIA Novosti / Andrey Stenin)

Residents of Slavyansk during a heavy artillery shelling of their city on June 7, 2014. (RIA Novosti / Andrey Stenin)