The Ukrainian government and pro-Russian separatists on Thursday blamed each other for cease-fire violations along the line of contact in the eastern Donbas region.

According to a statement issued by the Joint Center for Armistice Coordination and Control on behalf of the so-called Donetsk and Lugansk Republics, the Ukrainian army attacked nine settlements in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions during two hours of intensive artillery shelling.

The Ukrainian forces used 120 millimeter and 82 millimeter artillery shells, as well as various types of bombs and weapons, in the early morning attacks on the settlements of Kominternove, Oktyabr, Novolaspa, Petrovsky, Veselenkoe, Donetsky, Zolotoe-5, Nijnee Lozovoe, and Sokolniki, the statement claimed.

Separatists later shared videos on social media of their retaliation, which included firing at army locations under the control of the Kyiv administration.

Separatists requested that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) send a monitoring mission to document the situation.

Russian media reported quoting sources that no one was killed or injured as a result of the Ukrainian army shelling in the Donbas region. However, some sources said the situation is still unclear, and separatists are investigating the deaths and injuries in the region.

Kindergarten bombed

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian General Staff released pictures of a bombed-out kindergarten on its social media account, noting that pro-Russian separatist fighters bombed the Stanytsia Luhanska settlement under the Kyiv government control.

“As a result of the heavy artillery fire by the terrorists, the bombshells fell on the kindergarten building. According to initial reports, two civilians were injured,” it said.

The statement also said that civilians were evacuated to shelters, the infrastructure was damaged in the settlement as a result of the bombing, and half of the city was left without electricity.

“During the Russian shelling of Stanytsia Luhanska, one of the mines hit a kindergarten. None of the children was injured, but two of the teachers were shell-shocked. That’s all the world needs to know about Russia’s ‘withdrawal of troops’ from the Ukrainian borders,” the Ukrainian Embassy in Ankara said on Twitter.

Moscow, according to Ukrainian officials and NATO, has recently amassed more than 100,000 troops near Ukraine, prompting fears that the Kremlin could be planning a military offensive against its former Soviet neighbor.

Denying that it is preparing to invade, Russia has accused Western countries of undermining its security through NATO’s expansion toward its borders.

Russia also issued a list of security demands to the West, including a rollback of troop deployments from some ex-Soviet states and guarantees that some of those states would not join NATO.

In a written response to the demands, Washington said it is committed to upholding NATO’s “open-door policy,” while NATO also conveyed the alliance’s reply “in parallel with the United States.”

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