Updated as of 11:00 a.m. EDT: All of the miners who were trapped have been rescued and brought to the surface, a Russian news website has reported. Electricity in the two mines were restored, as well, the Emergency Situations Ministry in Donetsk self-proclaimed People's Republic said, according to RIA. There were no reported injuries or fatalities.

Original story: Nearly 400 people were trapped Wednesday in two eastern Ukraine mines after a reported artillery shelling caused a power failure at each location, according to media reports. A spokesman for the Donestsk People’s Republic (DPR) Defense Ministry confirmed the emergency situation in the country’s Donbass region to the Interfax news agency, according to RT.

"The Abakumov and Skochinsky mines have lost power, trapping 379 people. The Sokol market has also been hit. The Emergencies Ministry has been dispatched," ​DPR Defense Ministry spokesman Eduard Basurin said. “At present, around 15 people are dead from the moment the first provocation started at 3:34 a.m.” 

The “provocation” Basurin spoke of that left the mines without electricity was likely a reference to an attack of the village of Marinka by Moscow-backed rebels and was in direct violation of a ceasefire, DPR Defense Minister Vladimir Kononov said Wednesday, Sputnik News reported.

“This provocation is to blame us in attempts of approaching Marinka, which is already our territory. … These types of provocations can lead to war. … This is a breach in the Minsk agreements,” said Kononov, who also confirmed the initial number of dead was 15 people.




In March, 33 miners were killed in a coal mine in eastern Ukraine due to an explosion caused by methane gas, DPR’s news agency reported, according to CNN. In that particular instance, officials were quick to point out that the explosion at the Zasyadko mine “did not happen because of shelling.”


The country observed a day of mourning the day after the March coal mine explosion, including a moment of silence, flags flown at half-mast and the cancellation of all entertainment and leisure events.

Ukraine’s coal supply ranks seventh worldwide, with coal responsible for nearly 40 percent of the country’s electricity, according to the European Association for Coal and Lignite. As of 2012, there were more than 143 coal mines operating in Ukraine.