A kindergarten, which according to Ukraine's military officials was damaged by shelling Photograph:( Reuters )
The shell hit the buildings gym room with staff and children present inside in the eastern Ukrainian village of Stanytsia-Luganska amid soaring tensions between Russia and Ukraine.
There were reports of shelling by Russian separatists in the eastern Ukrainian village of Stanytsia-Luganska amid soaring tensions between Russia and Ukraine.
The shell blast hit the wall of a kindergarten used by 20 children and 18 staff. No casualties were reported even as the kids were inside. Reports claimed the kids narrowly escaped with no injuries reported.
The shell reportedly hit the gym room with staff and children present inside the building. All those inside the building rushed to the other side and hid against the wall on the ground floor as the shell hit the two-storey building.
"A kindergarten was shelled in what we... know was a false flag operation designed to discredit the Ukrainians, designed to create a pretext, a spurious provocation for Russian action," British PM Johnson told British media.
President Volodymyr Zelensky said: "The shelling of a kindergarten... by pro-Russian forces is a big provocation."
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Ukraine's forces have been in conflict with Russia-backed rebels in Donetsk and Lugansk regions. Putin's forces had annexed Crimea in 2014 leading to continued tensions between Ukraine and Russia for the past eight years.
On Thursday, Ukrainian forces accused the rebels of 34 ceasefire breaches while using heavy weapons with at least two soldiers and five civilians injured during artillery fire.
The incident comes as President Biden said Russia could carry out a "false flag" operation in order to launch an invasion on Ukraine. Amid soaring tensions, Russia expelled two US diplomats.
Joe Biden said the threat of invasion is "very high because they have not moved any of their troops out. They've moved more troops in".
The United States has been saying for months that Russia has amassed over 100,000 troops at the border even though Russian officials including President Putin have denied reports of an imminent Russian invasion.
(With inputs from Agencies)