Donetsk
© Sputnik / Alexey Kudenko
Firefighters battle a blaze after artillery shelling in Makeevka, Donetsk People's Republic
RT's video news agency Ruptly spoke to Nina Grebennikova, the mother of the six-year-old girl Alina who was killed last week in Donbass. The girl was fatally wounded when the Ukrainian military shelled the city of Makeevka, located just to the northeast of the city of Donetsk.

On the day of the deadly shelling, Nina with her husband and their three daughters, as well as her neighbor with her three children, went for a walk in a garden located near a local school.

"It's just, you know, they are shooting everywhere - we didn't know where to take a walk with the kids. And at that time there was an explosion," Nina says.

The six-year-old was riding her bicycle when "everything started exploding above our heads", the mother recalls. The family dropped to the ground to take cover from the shelling, but Alina was hit in the head by a piece of shrapnel.
I jumped up and my baby was lying down. She, it turns out, was near the bike. And a pool of blood. And I grabbed her, started shouting for an ambulance to be called.
The girl was rushed to the hospital, but her wound turned out to be fatal. The piece of shrapnel penetrated deep into Alina's brain, and it was impossible to even attempt surgery to try and save her, the chief doctor of the Makeevka hospital, Anna Rudnichenko, told local media.

The Ukrainian military has repeatedly subjected residential areas of Donetsk and other settlements across Donbass to heavy artillery and rocket shelling amid the ongoing conflict with Russia. Moscow has accused Kiev of deliberately targeting residential areas located nowhere near military targets, blasting such actions as "barbaric."

"We're seeing absolutely barbaric shelling of civilian facilities. They're barbaric. In recent days, we've witnessed these shellings intensify," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier this month.

Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev's failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev's main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and "create powerful armed forces."

In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.