(Reuters) – At least 10 people were killed on Wednesday when shells hit a school playground and a public transit mini-van in a nearby street in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, underscoring the fragility of a ceasefire between separatists and government forces.
Teachers managed to lead pupils at school No. 57 into a cellar for safety when shelling started and there were no children among those killed, municipal authorities and witnesses said.
The shelling occurred at 10 a.m. on the first day of the new school year after the 50-60 pupils aged from eight to 10 had already entered the school. The dead included a male biology teacher and the father of one of the children at the school, teachers said.
Apart from those bodies and that of a third person who was identified as a separatist fighter, Reuters correspondents saw a further six bodies in the burnt-out mini-van and on streets nearby.
The regional administration said a total of 10 people had been killed in the shelling in the city, a stronghold of Russian-backed rebels waging a separatist rebellion against the pro-Western government in Kiev. Rebels put the number of dead at 12, saying two victims had been removed from the scene.
Nine others were wounded, seven of whom were taken to hospital, the municipality said in a statement on its website.