At least 10 dead as Ukrainian rebels attack airport in Donetsk

Artillery shells hit a nearby schoolyard and residential area, producing most of the casualties.

Darko Vojinovic/AP
Smoke rises over a residential neighborhood near the airport after shelling in the town of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014. Rebels in eastern Ukraine appear to be successfully closing in on the government-held airport of Donetsk, a strategic victory for the pro-Russian separatists that further undermines a shaky cease-fire in the region.

Rebels in eastern Ukraine appeared to be successfully closing in on the government-held airport in Donetsk Wednesday, a strategic victory for the pro-Russian separatists.

At least 10 people were killed as residential areas near the airport were caught in the crossfire, further undermining a shaky truce that was imposed last month and has been riddled by violations since.

Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council spokesman Andriy Lysenko told journalists in Kiev that the airport was still under control of government troops who were "brilliantly carrying out their duty" and holding ground there.

However, rebel leader Alexander Zakharchenko was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying that the rebels control 90 percent of the airport, which has been the focus of the worst fighting in the region for weeks.

"In two, or maximum three, days the Donetsk airport will come under our control," he said.

While it was impossible to get within close range of the airport because of the ongoing fighting, an AP reporter in Donetsk saw that artillery fire hitting the airport was coming from government-held positions outside the city — an indication that the airport may no longer be under Kiev's control.

The reporter also saw the bodies of three people killed after a shell exploded in a school courtyard in a residential neighborhood near the airport. The city council of Donetsk said that in total four people had died, and that about 70 schoolchildren were in the school at the time but that all those killed were adults.

Soon after the school was hit, another shell fell on a bus stop nearby. The AP saw two people who had been killed at the bus stop as well as another person on the crosswalk nearby. A minibus that was also hit was still burning hours later — though the AP was unable to confirm how many people were in the bus. The Donetsk city council said the number of killed at the bus stop was six, and that several people were wounded.

In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov continued to call on the West to look into allegations that there are mass graves in eastern Ukraine of those killed by Ukrainian troops.

"It's a terrible tragedy. It's an obvious war crime," he was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies. "We count on Western capitals not being silent about these facts."

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.