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Published On: Sun, Jun 8th, 2014

Ukraine: Situation in Slavyansk Deteriorates as Shelling Continues

nsnbc : Ukrainian military continued, on Sunday, the shelling of the southeastern city of Slavyansk. Artillery fire has left much of the city without electricity and water, food has become scarce. Newly inaugurated Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko promised “no talks with terrorists” and issued a de facto declaration of war against the rebelling southeastern regions.

Slavyansk_artillery_Ukraine_3Ukrainian military is shelling the center of Slavyansk, said spokeswoman for the city’s mayor Ponomaryov, Stella Khorosheva  to the Russian news agency Itar-Tass on Sunday. Khorosheva added:

“The center of the city is currently under artillery fire. One of the shells has exploded near the city administration building”.

The spokeswoman added that mobile communications works poorly. nsnbc has been unable today, to reach any of its contacts in Slavyansk via phone and Skype. Itar-Tass quotes Khorosheva saying that there haven’t been any casualty reports yet, although it is uncertain if she meant there were no casualties or there were no reports yet.

The mayor’s spokeswoman reiterated previous reports about problems with the city’s water supply. Both water and electricity have been cut of in most parts of the city which explains why nsnbc has difficulties contacting reporters who used to call up nsnbc with information. Itar-Tass quotes Korosheva as saying:

“The water pipe has not yet been restored and water has remained only where people have prepared stocks of bottled water, or (where they have their) own wells”.

She added that Ukrainian military is using flares to illuminate the skies and the city by night. The situation in Slavyansk continues to deteriorate since Kiev, on 3 and 4 June launched air strikes and artillery fire into the city center, damaging the central water supply.

The situation in some of the villages surrounding Slavyansk has been described as catastrophic, with people seeking shelter in cellars, unable to transport those who have been injured by artillery fire to hospitals.

Poroshenko_seal_Inauguration_UkraineMeanwhile, President Petro Poroshenko delivered a de facto declaration of war to the rebelling regions during his inauguration speech on Saturday. While alleging that he wants to find a peaceful solution, he reiterated that Ukrainian will be the only official language in Ukraine.

It was the post-coup government’s statement on February 21, that Russian would be banned as second official language in Ukraine’s predominantly Russian speaking southeastern regions that prompted the deterioration of the crisis in Ukraine into a civil war.

On February 22, 3.500 local governors from the southeast gathered in the city of Kharkov to reject the post-coup government and all of its laws as illegal, in particular their banning of Russian as official language.

Another of Poroshenko’s statements that was perceived as declaration of war was his assurance that he would hold early regional elections to find a team to discuss the situation with, while he asserted that greater regional autonomy in a federalized Ukraine was out of the question.

Poroshenko stressed that he would not talk to what he described as criminals and terrorists, referring to the self-defense forces in the southeast as well as the local governors and populations who uphold their demands for new elections and a federalized Ukraine.

Ch/L – nsnbc 08.06.2014

Shellshock: 20.000 Flee from Southeastern Ukraine to Russia in 3 Days

nsnbc hotline southeast Ukraine: nsnbc would like to hear from anyone in southeastern Ukraine who can send documented situation reports to nsnbc international. Contact nsnbc international via Skype at Skype ID: nsnbc.international or telephone +45 322 177 31.

Read more in our coverage of the situation in, and around Ukraine, with news, analysis and opinion, in nsnbc international – your daily independent.

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