Shelling kills six civilians in east Ukraine

KIEV - At least six civilians were killed and eight others injured in a shelling on a bus station in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on Wednesday, officials said.

The rocket fire also destroyed two buses and some businesses, according to a statement by the Public Prosecutor's office in the provincial capital of Donetsk. 

The Ukrainian government and pro-Russian separatists accused each other of carrying out the attack, various sources said.  

 Meanwhile, 87 pro-Russian separatists and 19 Ukrainian troops were killed in ongoing clashes between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russian separatists in the past 24 hours, officials said.

The separatists carried out 107 attacks, according to a press release issued by The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine.

The Ukrainian army destroyed 54 pro-Russian separatist vehicles including 12 tanks, the statement said.

The attack on the bus station comes hours before Ukrainian, Russian, German and French leaders held a summit in Belarus' capital of Minsk Wednesday, aiming to reach another cease-fire agreement in the drawn-out Ukraine conflict.

The attack also follows rocket attacks Tuesday on the Kramatorsk Counter Terrorism Center, located at the city’s airport, killing 16 people and wounding 48 others.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has claimed that Kiev possesses evidence that the eastern city of Kramatorsk was hit by Russian-made rockets.

"There is evidence which shows the use of multiple Tornado rockets against the civilian population," Poroshenko said Tuesday, adding that "we will use that as evidence in Minsk and in the European Council."

Poroshenko declared earlier Wednesday that he was ready to introduce martial law throughout Ukraine if the conflict with pro-Russian separatists escalated any further.

Ukraine and Russia have been trading accusations over the crisis in eastern Ukraine, with Kiev accusing Russia of sending troops and weapons into eastern Ukraine, and of "waging a hidden war against the country while annexing part of its territory."

Russia, on the other hand, accuses the Ukrainian government of escalating the violence in the region "having failed so far to launch a true national dialogue with the people in eastern Ukraine." It also argues that the annexation of Crimea was not a violation of international law, but "an exercise of the right of self-determination."

U.S. and European leaders accuse Russia of supporting the conflict with arms and ammunition, while Russia says the U.S. and EU have deliberately destabilized Ukraine to expand the west's military presence in Eastern Europe through NATO.

More than 5,300 people have been killed and 12,200 others injured in eastern Ukraine since mid-April last year in the ongoing conflict, according to the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Prince Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein said earlier this month in Geneva that "in just the three weeks up to Feb. 1, at least 224 civilians have been killed and 545 wounded."

The situation has escalated since January, despite a cease-fire agreement signed by the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian separatists on Sept. 5, 2014 in Minsk.

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