Kiev’s forces are accused of attacking Svetlodarsk as people were receiving drinking water FILE PHOTO. Local residents walk in the street in the town of Svetlodarsk. © Sputnik / Sergey Averin

At least three civilians, including a child, were killed on Thursday after Ukrainian forces shelled the city center of Svetlodarsk in the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), according to local officials.

Five 155mm artillery shells struck the city at 9:50 am as local residents gathered near a school and a city hospital to receive water. The shelling was reported by the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) representative office in the Joint Center on Control and Coordination (JCCC) on its Telegram channel earlier in the day.

“Three civilians were killed, including one child, and 12 people were injured. Additional information is being specified,” the JCCC reported.

War correspondent Andrey Rudenko said that the shelling of Svetlodarsk targeted a local hotel, kindergarten, pharmacy and a place where people gather water. He added that two people died on the spot as a result of the attack, including a fourteen-year-old.

Home to some 11,000 people, the industrial city of Svetlodarsk in the DPR has been the center of several battles amid Russia’s ongoing military campaign in Ukraine. Russian forces took control of the city in late May.

Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”

In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked. (RT)