Amid rising tensions between the West & Russia, a powerful explosion rocked downtown Donetsk on Friday, the Donetsk News Agency reported.
“A car exploded at the parking lot near the government building at about 19:00,” the office of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic at the Joint Center for the Control and Coordination of the Ceasefire Regime said. (Moscow time)
The explosion was “heard across the entire city,” the office said. Responders from the Emergency Situations Ministry are headed to the scene.
The statement also calls for citizens to “remain calm, be vigilant and avoid moving about the city.”
According to the US, Russia probably has amassed between 169,000 and 190,000 personnel in and near Ukraine, up from about 100,000 on January 30. Russia has announced new drills involving ‘strategic forces’ on Saturday, with Moscow saying that Putin will oversee the operations. The number of Russian troops around Ukraine has reached 149,000, Kyiv said on Friday. The Guardian reported that the Russian drills will “involve forces and hardware belonging to the Aerospace Forces, the Southern Military District, the Strategic Missile Forces, the Northern Fleet, and the Black Sea Fleet”, the ministry said.
Meanwhile, shelling in Ukraine Thursday renewed as US President Joe Biden said Moscow is preparing a pretext to justify a possible attack and the Kremlin expelled an American diplomat. Russia expelled US Deputy Chief of Mission Bart Gorman but a senior State Department official said he left last week. Early morning exchanges of fire between Kyiv’s forces and pro-Russian separatists — who have been at war for years and where a ceasefire is periodically violated — caused alarm as Western countries have said an incursion could come at any time.