Footage has emerged of a domestic television crew in eastern Ukraine being forced to flee from a huge explosion, after mortar fire hit a gas pipeline in the area.
A Ukrainian TV crew was forced to flee a large fireball and explosion, after mortar fire in eastern Ukraine hit a major gas pipeline.
The film crew, who had been working for international news agency Reuters, had been filming just fifteen kilometers south of the embattled town of Debaltseve when they were caught in the crossfire.
One of the Ukrainian crew was injured in the blast.
The footage, which captured the scenes of the explosion – and the aftermath – showed the television crew escaping the area in a car, tending to the injured man.
He appears to be bleeding, reportedly hit by shrapnel from the blast.
Reuters evacuated the crew and the injured man was bought to hospital.
Fighting has been reported in and around Debaltseve, in eastern Ukraine, over the past few days – despite a peace deal in agreement.
According to the terms of the agreement, heavy artillery and mortars should be withdrawing from the region from both sides, but officials from both Kiev and the rebels have accused on another of breaking the ceasefire.
Kiev has claimed that all mortar fire in the region has been the result of rebel attacks on the Ukrainian troops – with several Ukrainian servicemen being killed since the ceasefire began.
However, Kiev is often quick to blame the rebels entirely, and many locals have cited government soldiers and weaponry firing in the area.
Rebel commanders, who have openly admitted active mortar fire from their side, have claimed that all rebel attacks have been ‘covering fire’, protecting their own artillery positions from the Ukrainian forces.
In Debaltseve itself, a site of major fighting over the past few weeks, is currently under the control of the Ukrainian military. A lot of the fighting has temporarily stopped since the Sunday ceasefire, but in other areas rebels have refused to halt attacks on the town where Ukrainian forces are encircled.
Many, both foreign experts and local Ukrainians, have expected the most recent ceasefire to ultimately collapse, due to an unwillingness from both sides to lay up their arms – for fear of it appearing as a sign of defeat.
As a result, lots of civilians in eastern Ukraine are either abandoning their homes in the temporary lull in combat or sheltering up, ready for the future and the ever more likely possibility of renewed fighting.