– ‘Covert team’ caught after shelling kills at least 9 in eastern Ukraine (RT, Jan 22, 2015):
What local authorities call a “covert group” has been arrested in Donetsk. The group is suspected of the shelling during rush hour on Thursday morning, which took the lives of at least nine people and injured up to twenty.
Residents of Donetsk’s Leninsky district heard shelling at about 08:30 local time, media report. Windows in the buildings near a tram stop were blown out. Locals say they believed their district to be “a quiet place” and were shocked by the “tragedy that happened when people were heading to work.”
A trolleybus was also hit, and eye-witnesses said there were victims inside, as well as bodies lying at the stop, local news outlets said. Conflicting reports, citing medical sources, indicate there may have been up to 13 deaths.
“A covert group has been operating, they have been arrested now. No more comments,” the defense minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic Vladimir Kononov told Gazeta.Ru newspaper.
The authorities of the self-proclaimed republic also say the shelling was carried with mortars, RIA-Novosti reported.
“Our officers were at the scene, according to the preliminary information, the shelling was conducted with mortars from one of the nearby districts. It appears that two bombs fell on the stop,” said a spokesperson for the DPR Security Ministry.
“The self-defense forces shortly thereafter arrested a covert group of Ukrainian security forces not far from the scene, at the moment it is being verified whether they were involved in the shelling,” the spokespersonadded.
The deputy speaker of the DPR parliament, Denis Pushilin, told RIA-Novosti that the investigation is ongoing and that “the shelling was supposedly conducted from a minibus or a dustbin lorry.”
The OSCE has sent a group of its experts to the scene of the shelling in Donetsk to collect information, spokesman for the organization’s special monitoring mission to Ukraine Michael Bociurkiw told RIA-Novosti.
“Yes, we are aware [of what happened]. We have sent our patrol group to evaluate the situation. Taking into consideration the security situation, we are to present our assessment in the nearest future,” Bociurkiw said.