Rockets Kill 15 in Mariupol

Rockets Kill 15 in MariupolRockets Kill 15 in Mariupol

At least 15 people died Saturday when rockets pelted a market in the city of Mariupol in Ukraine, a vital port linking Ukrainian rebel lands with Crimea.

The police chief of the war-torn region of Donetsk said 46 people were also wounded in the city of Mariupol when Grad rockets hit a large residential district facing roads that have come under attack from separatist militias in recent days, Reuters reported.

The mayor’s office added that several buildings went up in flames and cars were torched in the morning assault.

“Right now, there are problems with the cell phone network so it is impossible to call relatives who live in that part of town,” a local resident told AFP by telephone.

A photograph of the attack published on a local news site showed a towering cloud of gray smoke billowing over family homes and a row of high-rise apartment buildings.

The southeastern Sea of Azov city of nearly 500,000 sits on a highway connecting guerrilla-held regions to the east and the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea.

A rebel assault on the port in August saw Kiev repel the attack at a heavy cost that soon prompted Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to agree to a September 5 truce.

That deal was followed by still more clashes that killed at least 1,500 people and was ultimately rejected by the rebels on Friday.

The separatist leader of Donetsk said on Friday he was ripping up the September agreement.

“Our side will no longer push for any more truce talks,” Alexander Zakharchenko said in a statement Friday. “We are going to advance to the very border of Donetsk province.”