More than 10 civilians have been killed and dozens more wounded in some of the heaviest outburst of violence in Donbas in months that may provoke an early test of President Trump’s ability to manage negotiations with the Kremlin over the thorny conflict, Unian reported, according to The Washington Post.
The uptick in fighting came just days after Trump’s first telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, when the two discussed the conflict in Ukraine and declared plans to improve relations, according to WP.
Earlier during his presidential campaign, Trump echoed Russian talking points about Ukraine, saying that Putin had not sent his military into the country and that most people in Crimea, the peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014, did not want to be a part of Ukraine.
The U.S. State Department on Tuesday, January 31, called for an immediate ceasefire, as well as the U.S. Mission to the OSCE, which urged Russia to stop attempts to seize new territory beyond the line of contact. "Today for the first time in days Grad multiple rocket launchers and heavy artillery were used against the civilian population and our units," Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said during a meeting with security officials Tuesday. "The shelling is massive."
The situation has grown so dire that Ukrainian authorities have announced that as many as 12,000 people may be evacuated starting Wednesday as electricity and water supplies to the city have been cut in the fighting.
Earlier investigators identified the exact BM-21 GRAD position, involved in shelling of Avdiyivka.
Also reported people were kneeling at farewell ceremony for Avdiivka defenders on Maidan Nezalezhnosti in Kyiv.