Moscow: Russian-backed separatists in the eastern region of Ukraine on Monday has said that a strike by Kyiv’s forces on the rebel de facto capital Donetsk left at least 16 people dead, ahead of talks to resolve the war.

Rebel officials said fragments from a Ukrainian Tochka missile that was shot down had landed in the centre of the city, leaving more than a dozen dead with many more injured.

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As per the self-proclaimed region’s health ministry said, “Sixteen deaths have been recorded, adding that another 23 people have been 

injured.”

The information lowers the count from 20 provided in an earlier toll by separatist authorities.

Official separatist Telegram channels distributed photos and videos of the aftermath, showing burnt-out cars, bodies strewn in the street, and damage to the exterior of the shops.

Agencies could not independently verify the death toll reported by the authorities in the territory that pro-Moscow rebels have controlled since 2014.

As per reports, the head of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic, Denis Pushilin, said the shot-down rocket had inflicted damage to residential areas and repeated that civilians had died.

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He said, “People were waiting in line near an ATM and were standing at a bus stop.”

“There are children among the dead,” Pushilin added, telling the network the casualty count would have been higher had the rocket not been downed.

Reports of the attack came as Ukrainian and Russian negotiators were scheduled to meet for the fourth round of talks to resolve more than two weeks of fierce fighting.

 

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