Moscow: Pro-Russian separatists Thursday paraded around 20 captive Ukrainian soldiers through the streets of the rebel stronghold city of Donetsk in a humiliating display hours after 13 people died in a horrendous trolleybus shelling.
Dozens of Donetsk residents hurled snow and bits of glass from the shelling at the around 20 prisoners brought to the scene of the strike by the authorities.
During five to 10 minutes, the prisoners, dressed in civilian clothes, some of them injured, bandaged and limping, faced the crowd after being forced to kneel.
People shouted abuse and threw pieces of glass, some of it recovered from the shattered trolleybus and bus stop hit on Thursday morning as residents of surrounding buildings leaned out of windows to join the clamour.
"They have to be punished, like Saddam Hussein. They are killers. They killed our children," pensioner and local resident Zina told AFP. "Our children cry every day."
Another bystander expressed sympathy for the soldiers, however. "I am ashamed of what is happening," said Lyuda, also retired.
"I have pity for them. They are victims of (President Petro) Poroshenko. They are not guilty, they were sent here," she said, looking at the captive soldiers with tears in her eyes.
Separatist authorities and Russia have blamed Ukrainian forces for attacking the bus stop, which is located far from the frontline. Some Russian reports alleged the attackers were "saboteurs" riding a garbage truck who ventured deep into Donetsk.
Kiev argues the strike was committed by the separatists.