16:55 Nov. 21, 2016
Militants continue using human shield techniques in eastern Ukraine
Local residents of the militant-occupied eastern Ukrainian town of Makiivka are complaining that Russian-backed militants are deploying self-propelled artillery systems in the residential areas to launch attacks on Ukrainian forces in the industrial zone of Avdiivka.
The information was reported by eyewitnesses on condition of anonymity to an Ukrinform correspondent.
"In the Chervonogvardiysk district of Makiivka the militants placed a self-propelled artillery vehicle between the five-storey buildings, just 30 meter from the apartment blocks, to fire at Avdiivka industrial zone," locals told the correspondent.
According to them, people are afraid to protest shelling from civilian areas and are forced to take shelter in the basements.
Other Makiivka locals took to social media to publish images of a militant camp right in the yard of an apartment house.
"A view on Givi's [militant commander Mikhail Tolstykh] base. There is a tower with an armed Ork right above the white garage. It is just a step away from a residential building," says a Twitter user.
The Ukrainian government has long accused Russian-backed separatist forces of launching attacks from residential areas as a human shield tactic.
Militant leaders have previously admitted to isolated incidents of artillery fire from residential zones, but have denied that this is a deliberate tactic designed to prompt fire from the Ukrainian forces and provoke civilian casualties.