Ukraine is shelling the Donbas region and civilians are frequently killed, according to Venezuelan journalist Alejandro Kirk. People are abandoning Donbas in great numbers as they fear that a Ukrainian projectile can fall at any time and anywhere," said Kirk, who was wounded while reporting from the region.
Kir, who is a special correspondent for teleSUR and HispanTV news channels in Donbas, says Kyiv is unleashing 'punitive attacks' on the civilians and ordinary people are punished 'just for living here'.
"I think this is intended to create terror, force the people to leave their homes, feel permanently threatened ... Every person in this city knows that when you go outside, chances are you won't come back. That's why, when you ask them, almost everyone is calling for more action in the military operation," the journalist said, according to Sputnik News.
After dealing blows to Russia in the north and east, Kyiv said it made gains in the Donbas region, with troops advancing to the eastern bank of the Oskil River.
On Monday, Donetsk's Mayor Alexei Kulemzin said shelling in Kuybyshevsky district killed at least 13 civilians. Later, local media said the death toll climbed to 16 and the victims included two children.
Five more civilians were killed in the city of Gorlovka, which lies in the north of the Donetsk People's Republic, when the Ukraine army launched artillery fire.
"Nine 155mm shells fell in Kuibyshev, one of these shells killed nine people at noon. This was praised on Ukrainian channels as an example of efficiency. They target streets rather than buildings, places where a higher concentration of people is expected," the journalist told Sputnik.
Meanwhile, the head of the Russia-backed separatist Donetsk region, said he was pushing for referendum on joining Russia. Denis Pushilin said he has also asked the separatist leader of Luhansk province to launch a combined bid. "Our actions should be synchronised," he said he told told Luhansk People's Republic leader Leonid Pasechnik, according to Reuters.