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The tiny bombs, which are shaped like small flowers, were found in the centre of Donetsk, areas close to the city’s university, recreational areas and others.
Journalist Eva Bartlett, based in Ukraine, heard the shelling start on Saturday night.
“This morning I saw these mines in a heavily populated western Donetsk district,” she said. “They tear off limbs but don’t necessarily kill. Nasty war crimes to add to the list of Ukraine’s manifold war crimes.”
Local authorities issued a warning to residents asking them to “watch your step carefully, walk only on asphalt” and to call emergency services if they spot one of the deadly mines.
Civilians were advised to only walk on open routes and to avoid shortcuts after the latest attack as the mines are difficult to spot in grass or other areas.
The Lepestok cluster mines are banned under international humanitarian law and their use is deemed a war crime under the Geneva Convention.
They were widely used in Afghanistan where children often mistook them for toys, and were seriously injured or killed after handling them.
On Saturday, Donetsk authorities said that a large number of the petal mines were found by a school in the city’s Kirov district.
The overnight shelling occured shortly after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky ordered troops and civilians to urgently evacuate from Donetsk.
Transport networks were suspended across the city today as clear-up operations were under way.